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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Checking on the backyard birds

Traveling in Colorado certainly reminded me of just what a birdy place Southeast Texas is and what a birdy place my backyard is.  In the first few hours after returning home, I saw more birds in numbers as well as in diversity of species in my own yard than I did on my trip.  The bird feeders are busy and the shrubbery is full of birds here in the first week in November.

I had expected that by the time we returned all the hummingbirds would have moved on, but as I was sitting in the backyard yesterday I noticed that at least one of the little guys is still hanging on.  I happened to be looking in the direction of my Cape honeysuckle which is full of red-orange tubular blooms just now and I saw the hummer feeding from those blooms.  In fact, there are still plenty of blooms in the yard to support any late arrivals that are passing through and it is possible that a few more will.

One of the Austin bloggers that I follow reported yesterday that she had seen the first Chipping Sparrow of the season in her yard.  I haven't seen any of those favorites of mine yet and they usually are a little later in arriving in my yard.  But another winter resident that I always look forward to seeing has arrived - the little Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

These tiny birds are always such a treat to have around.  They visit the feeders for seeds and especially for suet all winter long.

One can also often see them scouring the ground under the feeders not only for seeds but for the tiny insects that proliferate there and that are the kinglet's favorite source of nourishment.

The kinglets were present in Colorado last week and I wondered at the time how long it would take them to reach my backyard.  I didn't have to wonder long!  They were here to greet me on my return.

UPDATE:  I posted this entry this morning (11/03) and no sooner had I written that I didn't have Chipping Sparrows yet than I went outside and guess what I saw at my feeder?  If you said Chipping Sparrow, you win the gold star!  Yep, they're here a little early this year.  While I was watching the sparrow, I also observed a pair of Pine Warblers at the feeders.  I think it's going to be an interesting fall and winter.

Chipping Sparrow - the cutest of the sparrows, I think. 


  1. I really enjoyed looking at your birding pics from your trip. We are lucky here in TX to have such diversity of species in our backyard birds. I hung up a "sock feeder" full of thistle for the lesser goldfinches. I've enjoyed watching them with some warblers that have stopped by the bird bath. Never seen the Chipping Sparrow or Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but they are very cute:)

  2. Thanks, Rambling Wren. I surely enjoyed taking those pictures. The Lesser Goldfinches are beautiful. I wish they visited my yard, but I think I'm a bit too far south and east for them. But, who knows - maybe this year!

  3. I love Chipping Sparrows, I've been looking out for them, but they haven't reached our garden yet. Lots of house sparrows though, unfortunately. I'll keep a look out for a Ruby-crowned Kinglet too. I saw a couple last year and didn't know what they were until I got my book out and ID'd them. Cute little birds.

  4. The kinglets are incredibly cute and busy little birds, Jayne, always great fun to watch. I've only seen the one Chipping Sparrow in my yard so far, but where there is one, there must be others.