Otters Pond Presents: February Birds in the San Juans
So nice to see and hear our bird buddies back from a brief winter hiatus!!
It’s a joy to see the vibrant Varied Thrush, Buffleheads, Hooded Merganser’s, and Ring -necked ducks. Anna Hummingbirds are here year round so we keep our feeders going, especially if the temperature drops below freezing. The availability of food in the early morning can be the difference between life and death for them.
Yesterday morning a Bald Eagle was harassing the ducks on the pond without success. I surprised a Great Blue Heron that was perched in a tree overhead; it surprised me too!
The bird songs are music to my ears. I am looking forward to the return of my favorite songsters, the White- crowned Sparrow and the Pied-billed Grebe. In the meantime I am enjoying the songs of the Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Juncos, the Red-breasted Nuthatches and a myriad of others unseen in the trees.
The Red-winged Blackbirds are quite showy right now with crimson red shoulder patches. Their trills and calls are very distinctive, in efforts to attract the females for their harems. They can be quite ferocious protecting the females and nesting areas. We have seen them chase Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons, dive bombing and pecking them until they leave the “neighborhood.”
We have seen more Downy Woodpeckers on our feeders this year. They are quite small compared to the Hairy Woodpeckers that we frequently seen. We rarely see the Pileated Woodpeckers that stay hidden in the trees. Evidence of their presence can be readily seen, especially in near-by Moran State Park.
We have juvenile and adult Red-shafted N. Flickers frequenting our feeders. Their markings are quite distinctive with a brown, barred back, black bib, spotted breast and belly, and white rump which can be seen when flying. We heard on “Bird Note” this morning that the white patch helps them evade predicators. The predators follow the white patch, the Flicker then hides it when it gets to shelter and it confuses the predator while the flicker blends into the background.
There are many more birds than I can mention here. It is fascinating to live on the edge of this glorious pond!