We backyard wildlife watchers have good idea what birds we will likely see at our feeders each winter. For example, the lineup of resident birds that I expect to see at my feeders includes year round residents such as chipping sparrows, downy woodpeckers, house finches, Carolina wrens, tufted titmice, eastern towhees, northern cardinals, and mockingbirds. In addition, the winter residents that typically make an appearance at my feeders are ruby-crowned kinglets, as well as both song and white-throated sparrows. Most years I never see a pine siskin or purple finches. During those times when large numbers of pine siskin’s and purple finches invade the south, I might see them every day.
However, if you are like me, you are always on the lookout for a visitor that you have never seen in your backyard. I know my chance of spotting one of these rare birds is slim. However, according to an analysis of the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count data, if this trend continues, our chances of seeing a rare winter warbler in the southeastern states might be increasing.
For example, during last year’s Christmas Bird Count, a number of warblers that typically spend the winter outside our borders never left the United States. This list of warblers these unusual winter residents includes the prothonotary, chestnut-sided, blue-winged, American redstart, yellow and Tennessee.
This report has bolstered my hopes that one of these neotropical migrants will decide to spend some time in my yard. However, even if one does not show up, I know I am going to have a great time watching the regular diners at my backyard bird smorgasbord.