Birds of winter

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the avian action stops.  Oh, no!  The actors just change a bit.  Below are some of our more interesting winter birds, including photos of nestlings of the cavity nesters that live in the area year-round.  Some of these birds nest here (e.g., House Finch, Pine Siskin) but I’ve included them for comparison with similar-looking winter guests (e.g., Cassin’s Finch).

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Below is a brief video clip of the Pinyon Jays.   These birds don’t spend all winter with us (thank goodness!), but they tend to appear at the end of the breeding season.  And they too often descend en masse, uttering their maniacal calls, and muscle out all of our other local birds.  When they come in these numbers, I typically take down the feeders until they move on to some other poor soul.  Since they are very nomadic, they don’t usually spend entire days here.  Once they head out, I put the feeders back up so the locals can come back—at least for a bit.

One morning, we spotted a small group of Wild Turkeys (Merriam’s subspecies) under the bird feeders.  The next morning, they had apparently spread the word and the group size had tripled.   Although we used to hear Wild Turkeys in the valley quite a lot when we first bought the property, they have only recently been around again.  January, 2013 was the first time we had seen them by the house, although we had seen their large tracks in the snow several weeks before we actually saw the birds themselves. I shot the video through the dining room window, so you see a bit of reflection.

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