January – early February 2013

The Cooper’s Hawks continue to diligently monitor the feeder activity in our Oklahoma City back yard. We have not actually seen them catch anything, but they certainly do try and they wreak havoc with the House Sparrow population. We have been enjoying the serenades of an exuberant Bewick’s Wren, who is sometimes in competition with the neighborhood Carolina Wren, and the Cardinals and the Robins. It’s not spring yet, but several species are getting an early start.

Sunday, February 10, when Brian and I began a hike around the neighborhood, we heard the “mewing” sound of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the pecan trees across the street from our home. We stood there a few seconds and watched as it flew from tree-to-tree. I think this was a new sighting for our area. Periodically the Red-breasted Nuthatches are heard calling and our House Finches have returned and brought with them a few American Goldfinches.

On February 1st as I was returning to work from having lunch in Capitol Hill, I looked up to watch a Red-tailed Hawk soaring over the river at South Shields. But…up above the hawk I spotted a much larger, dark bird and soon realized I was looking at an adult Bald Eagle! Pretty cool lunch hour treat for me. Where are the binocs when I could really use them? Brian was driving toward Tinker AFB one evening and spotted a Long-eared Owl flying across SW 59th and Sooner Road.

The OKBirds subscribers have been posting tidbits about a Cardinal with a partially white head. At our Byars feeder, I’ve seen a female Cardinal with part of her crest and head a bright white. I’ve also seen a male Cardinal with pink feathers on his back and primaries. We’ve also had an occasional Purple Finch throughout the winter. On Sunday, February 3, Brian hiked down toward our creek to see if the Woodcocks might have returned and might have been calling. The wind was light and it was not cold and we’d had about ¼ of an inch or moisture. Yes, the Woodcocks are back and were found calling and displaying in McClain County. While the leaves were damp, the ground was still quite hard and I hope the Woodcocks don’t try to jab their beaks too far! Might see a few Woodcocks with bent beaks!

It is amazing how bird populations and activity change in a week. One week in late January the prairie in front of our cabin was nearly covered with Robins and they seemed to be everywhere we walked. The next week Robin was a species that didn’t make our list at all. They seemed to be feeding on poison ivy and hackberry fruit when they were plentiful. I guess they ate everything they found and moved on. That’s what makes birding so interesting – one never can predict what might appear.