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With cooler weather comes new flock of birds

Common winter resident birds, such as this White-throated Sparrow, have begun to make their way into the area.
Common winter resident birds, such as this White-throated Sparrow, have begun to make their way into the area.

The recent cooler weather has helped move along some lingering migrants as well as bringing a few more along with it.

A few blackpoll warblers have been observed making their way through the area this past week along with yellow-rumpeds. American redstarts continue to be seen, with an adult male making an appearance in the yard where I live last weekend.

Black-throated blue and common yellowthroat warblers also continue to be observed, along with an occasional orange-crowned. Song thrushes continue their southward migrations through our area, with Swainson’s, gray-cheeked and veery observed last week.

The first white-throated sparrows of the season have begun to arrive, and much cooler weather to our north may help move a good number of these wonderful little winter residents into the area over the coming days. Several other sparrow species have been reported of late, including vesper, grasshopper, chipping, song, swamp, Savannah and dark-eyed junco.

A few kinglets, both ruby-crowned and golden-crowned, have been observed recently in our area. Ruby-crowned kinglets are often attracted to backyard hummingbird feeders, suet and grape jelly as well as shrubs and thickets where they search for their primary food, insect prey. Kinglets, and a number of other bird species, are also attracted to the small berries of our native wax myrtles. Wax myrtle is an excellent landscape shrub for birds; as an evergreen it provides shelter year-round as well as nesting habitat in spring/summer. In addition to providing berries as food, it also provides foraging habitat for birds to search for insect prey.

As a native plant it's well-adapted to our local climate and soils, is drought tolerant and can be found in the wild in almost any growing conditions.

Baltimore orioles continue to arrive in the area, returning to customary wintering sites as well as colonizing some new spots. A few folks have been surprised to find one or more of these wonderful birds at their hummingbird feeders lately. Orioles are quite fond of flower nectar and are frequently attracted to hummingbird feeders. In addition, they’re quite fond of grape jelly, orange sections and occasionally suet.

Several folks continue to report hummingbirds visiting their backyard feeders and flowers.

While most of these tiny treasures will move farther south for the winter, a few will remain in our area for the duration. Keep your feeder clean and maintained with a solution of one part sugar to four parts water with no other additives, and let me know of the hummingbird and oriole activity in your yard.