An eventful first week of the New Year!

January 07, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

The first week of 2016 has certainly been eventful!  We have had 25 species of birds including 4 uncommon winter residents, one of which was the first warbler of the year.  How does one know which birds belong here and when, which are common and which are rare? Get a copy of the annotated checklist of Missouri Birds - I keep one in a binder for handy reference. You can download it from the Audubon Society of Missouri website:

http://www.mobirds.org/RecordsCommittee/MOChecklist.aspx


The checklist is in a spreadsheet format and I've added columns to mine for "Yard Birds", "Bubbler Birds", "Pond Birds" and "Nesters" so that I can keep count.  

So, the uncommon winter birds this first week have been the Purple Finch, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (two males and a female), two Brown Creepers and a Yellow-rumped Warbler who drank at the pond early on Monday.  

Purple Finch on New Year's DayPurple Finch on New Year's Day

Yellow-bellied SapsuckerYellow-bellied Sapsucker Brown CreeperBrown Creeper

Yellow-rumped Warbler at the pond 1/4/16Yellow-rumped Warbler at the pond 1/4/16

There were a couple days when birds were very skittish because a Coopers Hawk was patrolling the neighborhood.  We were returning home after a walk on Sunday when Dan spotted the hawk with its meal of Mourning Dove. What a pile of feathers.

Coopers Hawk with Mourning DoveCoopers Hawk with Mourning Dove

One thing we do to give the birds more cover from the hawks is to recycle Christmas trees and stake them in the woods near the feeders there.

Christmas Trees by the bird feederChristmas Trees by the bird feeder

We've been seeing several species in them during the day, including White-throated Sparrows.

White-throated SparrowWhite-throated Sparrow

Bird activity has picked up again and today the birds were staging from the Buttonbushes to get to one of the bird feeders near the garden. 

Bird Feeder near the ButtonbushBird Feeder near the Buttonbush

Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows are common birds here in winter. This junco was eating Cliff Goldenrod seeds near the pond.

Dark-eyed Junco eating Cliff Goldenrod seedsDark-eyed Junco eating Cliff Goldenrod seeds

Other animals have been active, too.  It is breeding season for gray squirrels and prime real estate for nesting is often contested.

Gray Squirrels contesting a nesting spotGray Squirrels contesting a nesting spot

For some time now, I thought we had two red foxes, but had never seen them together. Today, we checked the game camera and found these three images of them mating!  This was the biggest New Year's surprise of all!

Red Foxes mating on New Year's DayRed Foxes mating on New Year's DayM2E1L0-5R350B300 Red Foxes mating on New Year's DayRed Foxes mating on New Year's DayM2E1L0-6R350B300 Red Foxes mating on New Year's DayRed Foxes mating on New Year's DayM2E1L0-6R350B300

 


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