We finally have below freezing temperatures but still no snow cover. Despite the blustery weather and extremely slippery ice-covered trails, I initiated my 2012 birding year yesterday at Pheasant Branch Conservancy. As usual this time of year, there was a lot of activity near the conservancy condominiums because of all the feeders placed on balconies. A few Northern Cardinals were singing and the chatter of chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches, and other songbirds made the winter day seem a little more cheerful. In addition to expected winter emberzids like American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos, I also found a Fox Sparrow and a few White-throated Sparrows. Perched right where they're supposed to be, I saw two roosting sentinel Barred Owls. The male tends to hold the same spot in the trees just north of the condominiums, while the female typically rests on a ledge at the entrance to their nest cavity.
Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Jan 2, 2012 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Great Horned Owl
American Tree Sparrow
All images © 2012 Mike McDowell