Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hawks and Grackles

I spent 4 and a half hours birding the neighborhood this morning. It was very pleasantly overcast and cool. And there are already some clues of the changing seasons. Many birds are singing now that weren't singing 2 weeks ago. White-winged Doves and American Robins were obvious examples this morning. And I'm starting to see Red-shouldered Hawks again. I know they live in the neighborhood year-round, but I just haven't seen any for weeks. This morning I saw 4. One pair was on the east side of Stillforest being mobbed by about a dozen Blue Jays. The other pair was overlooking the new hike-and-bike trail footbridge. I got this picture of them.

On my way back I found a few Common Grackles on Meadowheath which was very interesting to me. Since I've started keeping neighborhood bird records in eBird in 2006, I've noticed that Common Grackles seem to disappear for awhile in the winter. Specifically, I don't have any records of seeing them from mid-December until early February. These birds are not migrating, so there must be some other kind of seasonal movement or seasonal change in daily movements for these birds. I'm curious to learn more about that. Keep in mind that Common Grackles are different from the Great-tailed Grackles that are so abundant in town. See my NASWC article here.

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