The year-round residents are getting into their winter groups and the winter residents like the juncos are here in abundance. Generally, at this time of year, I would be at the Wakarusa Wetlands four or more mornings a week. I know I am one of many deeply grieving this loss. I hope that those of us who are doing more feeding, putting up more cover, winter roosting boxes, and brush piles, can offset some of the habitat loss these birds are experiencing. Support the work the Haskell Students are doing here: https://www.facebook.com/wetlandspreservationorganization Click on pictures to enlarge.
While it hasn’t started snowing yet, the rain and sleet have arrived. I went out to the yard to take a few pictures and noticed little bits of green poking out. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Really, we do not need more snow. 🙂 The weather and work have made it a bit tougher to get out to the usual places, but our feeders in the yard are hopping. I’m filling them up pretty much every day. Here are a few of the regulars. Click on pictures to enlarge.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing a kestrel in the park a couple of blocks from us. When we came home from the grocery store Saturday morning, he was sitting in a tree in the backyard eating a junco. In the world of raptors, the American kestrel seems like a wee one, not particularly scary, but that’s only true if one is not a small bird, rodent, insect, etc. There is certainly a reason they are also called “sparrow hawks.” I know the life of a bird of prey is a hard one, particularly in the winter, but poor little junco! All the small birds in the yard were yelling at the kestrel. I could imagine him saying, “Hey, I’ve got to eat too.” The bluejays were dive-bombing him over and over, but he stayed until he finished his breakfast. What I found really interesting about this is how all the birds worked cooperatively to try and run him off. Bluejays are known for sometimes eating smaller birds, but they were quick to join the sparrows and juncos in the fight against the larger predator. Once again, I am in awe of the life and death struggles that take place around we humans that so many of us never seem to notice. I won’t post the particularly graphic pics (I think this one is quite enough). Click on pictures to enlarge.
Another junco looks on.
It’s always great to see all the visitors to the feeders at this time of year. Click on pictures to enlarge.
A great way to help birds this winter is to create a brush pile. It’s a good place to keep warm and hide from predators.
Nuthatches seem to do pretty much everything upside down.
One of the best things about winter is seeing the juncos. What cuties! Click on picture to enlarge.
The daffodils are blooming and everyone is singing. After taking the junco picture yesterday, I haven’t seen any around, or white-throated sparrows. I think the hot, strong, wind today was just what some of our migrating friends needed. Click on pictures to enlarge.
The snow is pretty much gone and it’s a beautiful 68 degrees today. I was wearing my gloves when out walking this morning. You know the cliche–wait five minutes and it will change. Grackles are landing in waves, chatting and shoving each other around at the feeder. The juncos are still here, but I imagine they will leave any day. The sparrow below is waiting for a sharp-shinned hawk to stop circling the yard. Click on pictures to enlarge.
It’s always fun to spend a little time out in the yard watching everyone coming and going. The amount of activity in such a small area is just amazing. Click on pictures to enlarge.