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Fall Migration 2018


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@tclarkwood, some birds are more territorial than others.  In my SC yards, Northern Mockingbirds are the most frequent bullies.  Over the decades I've watched them stake out and defend pyracantha bushes, Bradford pear trees, and others that were loaded with fruits.  Hummingbirds are notorious for defending 'their' feeders against any small species they perceive as thieves.  I don't think Carolina Wrens are particularly aggressive to other species.

Those behaviors usually affect local areas, a few hundred feet at a time.  Other birds do defend larger territories, but I''m not aware of them affecting migrating populations.  Short-term migration trends are often affected by the weather, with cold fronts and windy storms pushing migrant around.  Longer term effects can be sue to the availability of food at their usual wintering grounds.  Shortages will push them out of their normal winter territories, often to the south as they search for food.  And there's the likelihood that as the climate changes, migration patterns will be affected; why go further south than you need to stay warm?

All of which is a long way of saying I don't have as many juncos as usual either.  It's early in the season yet, at least here.

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23 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

FYI, I was over at Phinizy this morning.  Lifers on Sora and Canvasback, and I haven't even started checking all the photos of waterfowl yet.

Ooh, the Canvasback are new for this winter season. When I was there Monday, there were a good number of Ring-necked, some Blue-Winged Teal, and then Scaup and a ton of Shovelers.

I also had a King Rail pop out and give me a good look at it. 

Tell the Siskins they need to come give the goldfinches at my house a run for their money, lol.

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I had some new visitors show up at the feeders this weekend. Some juncos showed up. A pair of pine warblers. 1 yellow rumped. The most curious visitor was either a female rose breasted grosbeak or it was a female purple finch. It looked more like a grosbeak but it sure is late in the season to see her flying back to South America. It almost had to be a purple finch. If she shows back up, i’ll Get a better look. 

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Yeah my Purple Finch irruption is officially over. Replaced by the usual insatiable mob of House Finches.

Not many juncos but a large loose flock of cardinals right now.  There seems to be one alpha male among them who looks to be 'in charge' of things. 

This week the guests of honor here are a pair of Fox Sparrows.  They are beautiful!

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WOW at the Dark-eyed Juncos that have showed up the past few days! I was ready for them this year with the tray feeders on the ground. These cold fronts have really been pushing so much life thru my back yard again. I'm having a constant stream of Carolina Chickadees, the Titmouse, Northern Cardinals, Purple Finches, Goldfinches, House Finches, Carolina Wrens, and Blujays just literally all day long. I saw a Warbler on the new suet block this morning, but it was too fast for me to get a good look. There was a Downy Woodpecker, but I havent seen it in a few days.

I did notice something really odd. I ran out of sunflower hearts because the House Sparrows were going to town on them like they are free, so when I ran out I bought a huge 50 pound bag of black oil sunflower. When they figured out the sunflower hearts werent coming back, they started eating out of the tray feeders on the ground that has the $5 wild bird seed mix in it. They dont even go to the feeder anymore. Arent sunflower hearts basically shelled black oil sunflower seeds?

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I'm out there several times a day, so I dont let anything empty 😁 Nice to have them off the feeder though. I see why people say House Sparrows are a menace. They were going thru block after block of no melt suet, until it got cold, and I switched over to regular suet. They turned up their noses to it, not sure why but glad they did. I think they ran all the woodpeckers off.

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Somebody just corrected me, they are Orange Crowned Warblers. They love mealworm suet, or insect suet. Right now I have a Audobon Park Nut & Mealworm, and a C&S Woodpecker Treat out. I've got them cut into 4 half blocks and spread out. Normally I have a lot more out, with a variety of flavors, but its not going fast here either since I switched them over from the no melt. In spring and summer I go thru a lot of the no melt suets as well for some reason.

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There is another warbler that is not uncommon in our areas that I learned about recently that is very pretty and maybe something that you could see eating suet.  It is the Palm Warbler. They have a similar appearance to the other "yellow" warblers like the pine warbler and the yellow warbler. Look it up and if you do see one, make a post!  Also, if anyone has ever been successful at attracting the American Kestrel, let me know.  They are fascinating little falcons but they require more open land than I have at my house.  Regardless, I was interested in seeing if anyone has them near their property and if anyone has ever built an American Kestrel nest box that has been used by this amazing little raptor. Thanks for the posts!

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I saw my first Palm Warbler last week at Phinizy Swamp near Augusta, GA.

I see Kestrels regularly here in central SC.  My route to work goes through a few thousand acres of farms.  I'll see Kestrels perched on the adjoining utility lines two or three times an year, some within a half-mile of the house.  I haven't tried nesting them but I have more trees than they'd like.  I see Loggerhead Shrikes in the same environment a lot more often, usually weekly or better.

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