Saturday, February 4, 2012

Unusual Birds for This Time of Year

The peculiar happenings of our peculiar winter continue.

*You fly back to school now little Grackle, fly fly fly...

Never have I tried so hard to get a picture of a Grackle, but I was determined. It's quite ridiculous really, in a few months we'll have no fewer than about a 100 and the last thing I will want is a picture of one. Aren't we birders supposed to love all birds? (House Sparrows and European Starlings excluded) Well, I admit I'm not fond of the Common Grackle. When they arrive in the Spring, to roost, feed, and multiply before returning to their wintering grounds, I have to remove most of my feeders because they can empty them en masse in about an hour. They're noisy, grack! grack! grack!ing away all day long. Because there's so many of them and they eat so much...well...certain things on the ground get lots of white polka dots. They're bullies, and I don't like bullies. They are listed as year round residents here, but we've never had them in our yard in winter before.

Please don't be calling for re-inforcements

The unusual thing is that they are flocking birds that tend to over-winter elsewhere, and I have one individual who's been showing up regularly for about a week. Not earth-shattering, I know, but interesting nonetheless to nerdy birders like me.

The birds are so confused, this little fella' was singing his heart out all morning what sounded like his mating song. We're about to get cold again, so hopefully that will set his mind right.

I don't have a picture, but another somewhat unusual visitor in the area is a Rufous Hummingbird just a few miles from my house. There's even reports of another on the other side of town. I don't recall ever hearing of a hummer staying all winter in our town, but December was the record warmest ever so I'm not surprised. The surrogate parents are going to great lengths to provide for the bird, and it even made a feature story in our local newspaper. It's a charming story (with pictures), check it out!

A bird I have not seen this winter, that I usually do see is the Red Breasted Nuthatch. We normally have a few hang around our feeder area during the winter months, but nary a "peep" or "hank".

Have you seen any unusual (for this time of year) birds in your area?

*Silence of the Lambs reference


  1. I don't think this is unusual except for ME, but I saw a ruby crowned kinglet for the first time! I looked it up in a bird book and they said it is a winter resident of Georgia.

  2. Nothing ahead of schedule for me, however, I have noted the absence of Fox Sparrows that I have had for the past several years:(

  3. Ellen- Just seeing any Ruby Crowned Kinglet is special since they're tiny, quick, and usually high in the treetops. Congrats, they're sweet little birds!

    Jeff- You're right, I forgot about Foxies.

  4. I don't know about unusual...
    Yesterday I was seeing woodpeckers, blue jays, cardinals, finches, a towhee, and other assorted birds that I didn't identify.

    Unfortunately, the cat kept them from getting close, and I was unable to get pictures.

  5. Most colder winters here in central Virginia we get Pine Siskins. This year it has not been cold enough to push them my way.

  6. I saw a thrush last week here which is really odd. They usually don't show up until April. I walked along the large creek this morning thinking any open water may attract some more newcomers. Last year it was thick with warblers waiting for the insects to emerge elsewhere.

  7. Gardens in the Sand- It's interesting that you have a Towhee, they should be year round residents for you but only live here during breeding season and I do miss them.

    Linda- We only get Siskins when it's really cold also, I haven't seen any this winter either.

    Heather- Wow, a Thrush! That's definitely unusual for Minnesota. Great sighting!