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November is not really a great month for birding but I did manage to see a few interesting birds and get some photos of them. Most of these were taken from our dining room looking out at our feeder snags.

Yesterday I noticed some Mourning Dove feathers on the ground. It was probably nabbed by the Sharp-shinned Hawk. She’s been a regular visitor for several weeks but this is the first evidence I’ve found indicating she is successfully hunting here. Mostly she cranes her neck and watches for some small unsuspecting bird to return to the feeder. I think she’s a female because she is rather large for a sharpie. The males are smaller.

The Northern Pygmy Owl was here before the snow fell. I saw it catch a vole and I wonder where it is hunting now. Voles are hard to find with the thick snow cover.

The female Northern Harrier was seen on a walk at Big Valley. She was on the ground unnoticed by us and lifted into the air when the dogs got too close. We called them back and she returned to the same spot. I imagine she had a meal – maybe a vole or mouse. We walked on and left her alone. A male Northern Harrier would have been silvery gray.

Northern Shrikes are winter birds here. They nest farther north, in Canada. They also eat small birds, reptiles and mammals in addition to insects. This one made a lunge at a dove, a much larger bird, with no luck when I saw it.

There have been lots of Northern Flickers around recently. They particularly like the suet feeders. They share them with Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers and also Black-billed Magpies.

The Pileated Woodpeckers have had a heyday with our burned trees. Insects invaded the trees almost immediately after the fire and then the Pileated’s began to break off great chunks of blackened bark in search of the larvae. They continue to return day after day so they must be successful. The little woodpeckers are also hard at those dead trees.

The pair of Bald Eagles were on a well-used snag above Big Twin Lake. In the summer I often see an Osprey there.

4 Comments

  1. Nice bunch of birds! I have found winter to have the best diversity of all the seasons…at least in my neck of the woods. That red cockade on the Pileated sure stands out! Really nice set of photos.

  2. Thanks Diana. It took me years of birding before I saw my first Pileated Woodpecker (I lived in the wrong place to see them) and now it’s delightful to have them in my own backyard!

  3. I so appreciate your photos and writing, Teri. I’m new to this area and am enthralled by each new encounter. I was recently watching what I now know was a northern pygmy owl. I studied her for a long time as she sat just outside the window at Winthrop Fitness (perfectly situated to see when you do situps on the ball and look up!) I memorized everything I could and was asking around to learn what type of owl it was. Now I know! : )

  4. Thanks Shelly. What a cool bird to see as you exercised indoors! The Christmas Bird Count is coming up on Sunday. Folks are meeting at the Cinnamon Twisp at 6:30 am if you’re interested.


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