A Travellerspoint blog

November 2014

Thanksgiving Day Backyard Birding

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Today the noisy calls of PINE SISKINS, coming from my backyard, interrupted my glorious Thanksgiving slumber at 8:45am. Any other bird would have annoyed me, but these are the first Siskins I have actually seen in my backyard for nearly two years, so I am quite happy about this! Pine Siskins are an irruptive winter finch species, meaning that they migrate south into the lower 48 states only some winters, but not others. Two years ago, these birds were seen in my backyard throughout the winter, but last year they were conspicuously absent.

The Siskins enjoyed feeding on the thistle feeder this morning. Here is a male:

Male DOWNY WOODPECKER, gender determined by the red patch on its head:

Male PINE SISKIN, gender determined by the yellow wing bars:

Three species of birds feasted on the thistle feeders this morning, namely HOUSE SPARROWS, AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, and PINE SISKINS (all pictured in this photo):

The Siskins defended themselves well against the larger, aggressive House Sparrows:

This male DARK-EYED JUNCO even made an appearance at the avian Thanksgiving feast, as well:

This nonbreeding-plumaged male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH wishes you a happy Thanksgiving!

Good birding,

World Life List: 703 Species (no life birds today)

11 species today:

Mourning Dove 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
American Crow 2
American Robin 5
European Starling 4
Dark-eyed Junco 2
Northern Cardinal 10
Pine Siskin 5
American Goldfinch 4
House Sparrow 70

Posted by skwclar 10:49 Archived in USA Comments (2)

365 days ago...

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...my family and I flew to Panama City, marking the beginning of our world travels for last year. What a whirlwind of a year it has been; it seems like only yesterday I was stepping out onto the balcony of our hotel in Panama City for the first time and seeing the expanse of endless rainforest that lay in front of me, the experience augmented by the ethereal constant song of a myriad of tropical avian life. Copy this URL to read my post for my first day in Panama:

The only reason I am not totally caught up in nostalgia at the moment is because I was just officially selected to travel on my high school's week-long biology trip to Costa Rica next July!! Will the quest for the quetzal resume?! Well, we'll just have to wait and see...

Good birding,

World Life List: 703 Species (no life birds today)

Posted by skwclar 20:16 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Sandhill Cranes!

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Hello everybody and welcome back!

Sorry I have not posted in a long time; it seems as though all of my academic and musical obligations have simply gobbled up all of my free time in the past month or two!

A couple days every March and November of each year, large flocks of Sandhill Cranes pass over Oak Park, IL on their way either up north to the taiga zone where they breed or south to the milder subtropics.

Today, a blustery 21-degree overcast November day, the coldest day of the season so far, a group of 40 of these majestic birds passed overhead, trumpeting their amazing calls all the while. I managed to snap one photo of this spectacle:

While certainly not a life bird, these awe-inspiring creatures are certainly quite a sight to see in migration! Even though I only had 40 above my house in inland Oak Park, Illinois, counts of up to nearly 5000 individual cranes were observed on the Lake Michigan lakefront today, wow!

Stay tuned, because recently I have gotten quite a few trips lined up for me for the next few years:

Spring 2015: Southeast Arizona (tentative)
Summer 2015: Costa Rica!
Summer 2015: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington DC, & Idaho
Summer 2016: Israel & Palestine (tentative)

Good birding,

World Life List: 703 Species (no life birds today)

Posted by skwclar 11:15 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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