Don’t forget to provide food for our fall and winter birds. Photo from Metro Creative
EXPLORING NATURE: FALL & WINTER BIRDS
After a scorching hot summer, here’s hoping fall is a tad cooler. And it would also be nice if winter is relatively mild and not another polar vortex like the last one.
So, bring on the cooler weather, and bring on new birds to our area.
By the end of October, most hummingbirds will have departed central Texas and headed for points south. However, not all hummers will leave and a few will over-winter in our area.
For example, Susan Evans of Wimberley has rufous hummingbirds year-round at her country home. The rufous species is the most common hummer to over-winter here; you’ll seldom see black-chinned, ruby-throats or other varieties.
However, while lots of birds will be departing, there will also be some new avian arrivals. I especially look forward to the goldfinches. We have all three varieties in this area, American, yellow and lesser.
Goldfinches are wonderful little birds that bring color and cheerfulness to our winters. I think famous ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson said it best: “The responsibilities of life seem to rest lightly on the goldfinch’s sunny shoulders.”
Other fall and winter birds to look forward to include cedar waxwings, Bohemian waxwings, purple finches and robins.
A bit north of us, folks can expect red and white-winged crossbills, norther goshawks, snow buntings and Lapland long spurs.
Keep an eye out for cold-weather visitors, and don’t forget to provide food, clean water and, where possible, brushpile shelters. A snug birdhouse will also be appreciated. Young birds in particular have a hard time when no insects are available and the temps dip lower and lower.
Your reward for helping out during this time of need will be lots of colorful, cheerful birds all winter long.