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Interesting year of overwintering birds


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This winter has seemed to have caused a variety of birds to make an overwintering attempt in my city and county (Calgary, AB) that I thought would be neat to share. 
It has been rather mild until about a week ago so I’m sure that is a big factor.

Here’s a list of some of the rather unusual guests so far (none that I’ve gone to seen)

About a Dozen trumpeter swans. I’m not exactly certain, but I think this may be the first year that they have stayed a full winter in the city

Yellow-rumped warbler 

A couple of American coots and canvasbacks 

A long-tailed duck (hasn’t been reported in almost two weeks, but stayed for a couple months)

A Savannah sparrow 

A female mountain bluebird has been here since Christmas 

Harris’s sparrow (usually at least one overwinters)

And now for some really odd ones:

An American white pelican with an injured wing has been at a lake since October. Apparently there’s a rescue plan if it ever needs it, but it actively feeds in an ice free corner and apparently has started to fly a bit in recent days

A cape-May warbler was just found visiting someone’s yard recently for the last couple days. 

And my personal favourite was an Anna’s hummingbird that had been visiting a house here since October. Yet, sadly it is presumed dead as Monday was its last sighting. It got very cold for a while, which is unfortunate as everyone was rooting for him to make it to spring. Anna’s are a rare bird here normally and this one arrived here before the person put up the feeder. 

Anyways, just thought I’d share. Wonder what else might show up. 
Hopefully nothing as February can get well below -30c

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just an update...

So I totally jinxed the weather as the whole province was under an extreme cold warning for about a week and a half, which just ended on Monday. Same polar vortex that is now hitting Texas.

Windchill values were below -40c in the night and early mornings, with the high temperature of the days being on average around -25c. Some areas a bit North got -50c windchill values! It was funny as it was -14 the other day and everyone was saying how warm it was. So definitely was not a wise choice for these birds to avoid migration!  

In that time period, an American Pipit showed up along the river and was observed twice and never again.

A northern mockingbird was found about an hourish south of the city and survived the cold snap! He is still there currently.

Most of the other rarities have managed to pull through (the ducks, swans, mountain bluebird, Harris's sparrow), but I think it’s safe to assume some did not.
The cape-May warbler was last reported on the 9th, so maybe he flew somewhere else, but.....  There’s also common grackles around (apparently they are common overwinterees in someone’s yard) and a wood duck. 

The pelican hasn’t been reported since the 12th, but no one has gone there since then to look for him so he’s probably still around. And I think it is safe to say that the Anna’s hummingbird was always doomed from the get go. No way he would have made it through that. 

Anyways, that should *knock on wood* be the last prolonged extreme cold period so I think everyone else is ‘safe’. At the end of next week California gulls should start showing up and I’m about a month out from the robins infiltrating my community. Can’t wait for the bird action to pick up again! 

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Most of the storms that have reached my area of VT have been duds, bringing ice and cold but not too much snow. We haven’t hit double digits in the negatives of Fahrenheit for temp, disregarding wind chill really. There seem to be a few Hermit thrush and brown thrasher overwintering, as well as some catbirds. 

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It was pretty cool here last night, seemed to drop down to the high 40's! But really, it's been a warm year here, normally we drop into the 20's at night, but that's not really happening right now. We've had a fair amount of overwintering birds, we have some Western Tanagers, Wilson's Warbler and Black-and-white Warbler, and Hooded Oriole. We have a larger Population then normal of Townsend's Solitaire. However, we've only had one Evening Grosbeak this year (found by yours truely).

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  • 3 months later...

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