January Yard Birds

We only have one feeder in our front yard right now, a mixed block of seeds in a hanging cage, but with shrubs, trees and open areas, and two bird baths that I try to keep filled with water, there’s been a good deal of activity all this month. Some of the coldest, rainiest days have been the most alive with birds.

Yellow-rumped Warblers seem to be everywhere, chasing each other and calling out “chek!” and often visiting one of the bird baths for a drink. White-throated Sparrows call “tsseet” and feed under the shrubs with Eastern Towhees, or on the ground under the feeder with Dark-eyed Juncos, Mourning Doves and one lone Robin that’s been here all month. A pretty, yellow-washed pair of Pine Warblers have been among the most consistent visitors to the feeder, clinging to it for several minutes at a time, and sometimes feeding on the ground underneath. Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, a pair of Downy woodpeckers and a Red-bellied Woodpecker come to the feeder every day – along with a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a Carolina Wren, two species I haven’t often seen at our feeders in the past.

A handsome, nervous Brown Thrasher comes regularly to the bird bath that’s closest to the bushes, gets a quick drink, then hops down and tosses up leaves with its long, curved bill, stopping frequently to lift its head and look warily around. One or two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers forage in the bare-limbed trees almost every day, blending in with the bark of the trunks as they works steadily and quietly except for occasional bright “mews.” Most days I hear the high, thin calls of Golden-crowned Kinglets, though not as often as last fall. Chipping Sparrows and Song Sparrows stay around the shrubs on the edge of the yard, near the road, along with a pair of Eastern Bluebirds that hunt from a low branch near the bluebird house. One Mockingbird, at least two pairs of Cardinals, and three or four Blue Jays are usually somewhere in the front yard as well.

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