My backyard bird feeders are in near constant use during the day now, with a lot of different and new birds.
This past weekend we had five yellow-shafted flickers in our yard at the feeder and eating seed I had spilled on the ground. We normally get the odd one but to have so many at one time was really unusual.
The blackpolls, pine siskin, chickadees, nuthatches and other small birds are fattening up for fall so the trees and berry bushes are full of birds eating, resting, chattering and taking turns at the feeders. The younger birds are not yet in full fall plumage so identifying some of the birds is awfully challenging.
About three weeks ago I stopped at Dry Burrow Burn in southern Saskatchewan to check out an Important Bird Area my daughter and I monitor for piping plovers. I didn’t see a plover but the water levels have receded this year leaving a lot of exposed mudflat so it’s a huge improvement in the habitat for shorebirds. There were sanderlings, godwits, semi-palmated sandpipers, and many other shorebirds stopping to eat to fuel their migration south.
Time of migration depends on many things, length of day, availability of food, weather and so on, but the smaller birds like shorebirds and backyard songbirds seem to leave first, with the larger raptors a bit later, and, after fattening up on farmers’ grain, ducks and geese last to go.
Have you had any unusual sightings lately? Send pix!!
Written by Rick Bates, Executive Director, CWF, in Regina