Tuesday, January 1, 2008

First Bird of 2008

As a birder it's fun to see what bird I'll see first each new year. Today I finally got out of the house just after noon (shameful for a birder!) and found a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in my backyard. Pictured here is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet I saw 2 days ago on Broadmeade. It's a common winter resident in our neighborhood and can be found actively foraging in the trees. It's 1 of 2 small green birds we have here in the winter. The other is the Orange-crowned Warbler. You can tell them apart by the kinglet's big white eye ring and wing bars. The Oranged-crowned Warbler lacks both of these. But both can be found in the same flock of birds up in the trees this time of year. Here's another picture of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet showing it turning its head almost 180 degrees. People think of owls having this ability but most other birds do too.

I ended up birding the neighborhood for over 2 hours. On Stillforest I ran into a nice mixed species foraging flock which had the 2 birds above plus a Blue-headed Vireo, Bewick's Wren, Carolina Chickadees, and Black-crested Titmice. I spent a lot of time on the flood plain property where I found (probably) the same Gray Catbird I saw a few days ago. There were lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers there as well. And near the new hike and bike trail parking lot I saw a Cooper's Hawk in the air being chased by an American Crow. I got this picture of them; the hawk is on the left and the crow is on the right. Not bad for a windy afternoon. Happy New Year!

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