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Our Overwintering Birds

February 21, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

It's been a quiet winter with not much avian diversity in our yard but like every year since we moved here in 2000 we have one at least one rarity, indeed this year its a mega rarity. a Lincoln's Sparrow. This handsome sparrow is wide spread and easily located in the spring by its marvelous melodic song, so melodic that its song stirs the hair on my head. A sparse winter for rarities means it was an orderly migration in the fall with no major weather events to stall birds on their trek south. The Lincoln's Sparrow hardly ever overwinters and I cannot find another confirmed record of it happening although as with all bird reports you can only count them if someone reports them and the winter Lincoln's Sparrow is easily confused with the Song Sparrow. Look for the thin striping through the small white throat patch and the usual ochre wash across the chest.

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincolns Sparrow X3Lincolns Sparrow X3SONY DSC

Here' the summary of this winter's birds, counting January and February only(don't count December birds in a winter bird count since late migrants will be included that way), although its not over yet:

Mourning Dove-10-120 daily depending on weather events. Snow storms bring in the most doves;

Rock Pigeon-5-30 irregular usually flying over;

American Robin- 0- 200 irregular usually flying over although a few stop to feast on the remaining mutlflower berries;

Grey Catbird-1-2 irregular(have to be outside to hear them);

Canadian(American) Tree Sparrow-30 all day, all winter. These ones never go south of the Canadian border;

Song Sparrow-20 all day, all winter;

White Throated Sparrow-40 all day, all winter;

Black-capped Chickadee-5-10 daily;

Boreal Chickadee-1-2 irregular;

Red Breasted Nuthatch-1-2 irregular;

Lincoln's Sparrow-2 irregular;

Dark-eyed Junco- 30 all day, all winter;

American Goldfinch-10-20 daily, all winter;

European Starling-2-200 irregular depending on weather events;

Blue Jay- 20-50 all day, every day;

American Crow- 5-10, iregular;

Northern Raven-5-10- all day, every day;

Purple Finch-1-5, irregular;

Downy Woodpecker-2 daily;

Hairy Woodpecker-1-2, irregular;

Northern Flicker-1-2, irregular;

Turkey Vulture-1 irregular, overhead;

Sharp-shinned Hawk-1 irregular;

Ring-necked Pheasant-1-4, irregular;

Ruffed Grouse-1 irregular;

Herring Gull-1-10 daily but irregular overhead;

Greater Black-backed Gull-1-10 daily but irregular overhead;

Overall 27 species, 50- 300 in total daily depending on weather events,  plus another 15-30 species if I took the trouble to scope the ocean and the sky.

It was a quiet winter with our birds seldom severely stressed as much as this human can tell.