Winter is nigh as November ends.
There are interesting nomadic birds that may yet be seen before the New Year arrives. What are they looking for?
Cover, as these two Northern Cardinals found in the Clove Currant(Ribes odoratum) and the 'Blue Muffin' Viburnum(Viburnum dentatum 'Blue Muffin').
Cover, as these ten preening and resting Mourning Doves found by blending into the stones and leaves near the Bubbler.
Cover, as this Dark-eyed Junco and nine Eurasian Tree Sparrows have found in the twiggy stems of the Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens). Are there really ten birds in there? See if you can find them all.
Food and Cover, as these American Goldfinches found in the Cliff Goldenrod (Solidago drummondii) planted within the driveway wall.
Red-breasted Nuthatches are winter residents that continue to find food such as peanuts, sunflower seeds and even some black walnuts. (Dan has shared some after his painstaking efforts to collect and process them.)
In the Winter Finch Forecast, Red-breasted Nuthatches are passerines mentioned along with many finch species.
Our FOS female Purple Finch, on the left, found black oil sunflower seeds along with three male House Finches. Let's take a closer look at some comparison photos.
In both of the photos above, the House Finches are on the left and the Purple Finches are on the right. You may get lucky and see Purple Finches at your feeders this winter. It does require careful inspection to tell them apart from the House Finches.
Water, this is an irruption year for Common Redpoll like we luckily saw last winter at the Bubbler. They will come to finch feeders, but we only saw them at the water, three mornings in a row.
In the winter of 2020 - 2021, we had Pine Siskins, another irruptive finch. Though our new Haikubox has been detecting them, we have yet to see any. Eyes peeled! Seedeaters like these are always a bit thirsty.
Almost ten years ago, we had Red Crossbills on two days in February, 2013. They have been seen in different parts of Missouri this fall. The crossed bill is distinctive! Like the Common Redpoll, these birds were only seen at the water features. They were finding food in the native trees.
Another possibility that would be a record for myself and birding friends is this bird, an Evening Grosbeak. One was reported at a feeder less than a mile from us in early November. This stocky finch loves black oil sunflower seed, and our tray feeder is ready!
While we keep a lookout, other winter visitors and the usual suspects keep us interested in their looks and behaviors.
An immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker shook water off its feathers after a late bath. A Brown Creeper investigated some rootlets for a larvae or tiny spider.
A Carolina Wren took a bit of bark butter from the sandwich feeder while a Hairy Woodpecker looked for an approach to the suet.
A Downy Woodpecker made the Red-breasted Nuthatch think twice before entering the peanut feeder area. There is a pecking order!
Of course, the more you look, the more you see, and we do see anomalies. The House Finch has some sort of tumor, and the Eurasian Tree Sparrow is leucistic, lacking pigment in its wing feathers.
Eastern Bluebirds seem to come in around noon to drink, bathe or get tidbits from the window feeders.
Let's hope for a decent winter for all!