Birding Notes

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

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Winter Arrivals – Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

They’re back. Thursday evening, October 16, I heard the distinct, high, thin ti-ti-ti calls of Golden-crowned Kinglets, the first winter resident birds to arrive here around our home this season. I heard them again on Friday, a gray and rainy day, but even though I could see them in the treetops now and then, in breaks in the rain, I couldn’t get a good look at even one. Today, again I could hear their calls in the trees all around, and finally was able to see one clearly in the pines – a tiny, quick-moving sliver of energy with bright white wing-bars, a black and white striped face and head, and a golden-yellow crown. At times it sounds as if there are dozens of them in the trees around our house, but that’s probably deceptive, and maybe some of them will be moving on to other locations for the winter, but I hope some will stay near.

Early this morning, when the sky was still cloudy and gray, and everything was soaked from yesterday’s good long rains, I heard a familiar burst of chatter from a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in a line of thick wax myrtles. Then, as I walked up the driveway for the paper, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker’s mewing call was repeated several times in the woods across the street. Later in the afternoon, a juvenile Sapsucker, with no red showing on either head or throat, flew from trunk to trunk around the edge of the yard.

It seems to me it’s late for the arrival of the Sapsucker, at least, and even for the Kinglets, but I haven’t been able to be out as often or to take my usual walks through the neighborhood for the past few weeks, so what I’m seeing and hearing now are strictly the arrivals of winter residents around our own house and yard. It’s good to see them again. Welcome back!


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