Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Monday, October 20, 2008

White-throated Sparrows Return

This afternoon – a sunny day with temperatures barely reaching around 70 – our first two White-throated Sparrows of the season appeared in the front yard. Their familiar tseet calls caught my attention as I was walking down the driveway, and sure enough, I found them in the shadows of the loropetalum and wax myrtles, where their neat white throats identified them quickly.

It’s nice to have them back, but I’m a little worried about whether they and other birds that need good low shrubby habitat will stay around this year. Last spring both we and our neighbors severely pruned a lot of wax myrtles, forsythia and other bushes – they had gotten pretty overgrown and needed a trim, but I had planned to plant many more shrubs this fall and haven’t been able to do it, so I’m now afraid that we won’t have as many ground-loving birds as we usually do in winter. The Hermit Thrush that usually comes for the winter, the Eastern Towhees, and Brown Thrashers, as well as the White-throated Sparrows – I can only hope there are still enough bushes around to provide them the cover and the food sources they need.

Also out front this afternoon were two male House Finches, both a rather subdued red color, visiting the feeders and the bird bath and trying – unsuccessfully – to chase away the Chickadees and Titmice. Golden-crowned Kinglets called as they traveled through the oaks and pecans, and one Turkey Vulture and two Black Vultures soared in a cloudless blue sky.


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