Monday, December 07, 2009

Calm before the Storm

American Goldfinch

From now until early March, Pheasant Branch Conservancy will be home to around 30 bird species. These are the birds able to endure the brunt and bitter cold of Wisconsin's harsh winters. To find them all, one must bird the stream corridor and the prairie parcel, taking 3 to 4 hours to accomplish on foot. However, notably absent on Saturday was Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Wren (no owls or shrikes, either), but there were American Tree Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, White-breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creeper, Black-capped Chickadees, Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, etc. A highlight was discovering a lone Fox Sparrow, a good find and a charming bird to admire.

American Tree Sparrow

While the expected species were present, I felt overall numbers were a little lower than usual. A different day and weather can vary the abundances of birds; some go on a feeding frenzy right before a storm front moves in. Saturday's weather was very tranquil and calm, but we have a significant snowfall event (up to 12”) forecast for early this week. I'm anticipating this will change the present lack of activity at my bird feeders due to the scarcity and inaccessibility of food buried beneath deep snow.

© 2009 Mike McDowell


  1. Love that sparrow shot that clearly shows the different colors in the beak. Thanks Mike