Fall Migration: It’s More Than Just Birds Leaving

Birds such as this American Tree Sparrow are only found in our area during winter months. Getting out birding is a great way to make the winter feel shorter.

With fall upon us bird migration is well underway and many people believe it to be over. Sure the big numbers of Warblers and Shorebirds have moved through and Raptor numbers peaked about a month ago, but there is still plenty out there to see. In fact fall migration isn’t just about what’s leaving or moving through, but what calls our area home for the winter. Several species of birds that spend their summers north of here have started moving in. Dark-eyed Juncos have appeared in good numbers this past week. Other species that can be seen are the various Sparrow species such as, White-throated, White-crowned, and American Tree Sparrows to name a few.

As fall progresses and turns to winter watch for more and more birds to arrive. Raptors like the Rough-legged Hawk and Owls such as the Snowy generally set up shop for winter in our area sometime in December. Bald Eagle numbers also increase in our area during winter months. Eagles are less territorial in winter and several can be seen in the same area. Many species of waterfowl will show up as cooler weather arrives. Buffleheads, Mergansers, and Goldeneye are all duck species I’ve photographed all winter long on the Thames River. Each of these species of duck dives for it’s food so they require open water for survival. The Thames River with it’s constant flow provides just that.

Winter months provide an amazing opportunity to see several bird species that just are not around at other times of the year. Pick a species that resides here for the winter that you have never seen before. Do a little research as to what type of habitat it prefers and think of places you know that fit that description. Bundle up and head out to those places and see if you can locate one. If you prefer the comforts of a warm car and a Timmies many of these species can be found while driving on county roads. It is a great way to make the winter feel shorter and you’ll be surprised at how rewarded you feel when your hard work pays off.

Good birding,
Paul

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