Like many cavity-nesting birds white breasted nuthatches roost in cavities. However, they will only occasionally roost in boxes. The birds typically roost alone, however, during extremely frigid weather they will roost with other white-breasted nuthatches. In fact, as many as 29 of the “upside down” birds will roost together in the same cavity.
The brown thrasher is a permanent resident throughout Georgia. As such, if you have dense shrubs in or near your yard, it is possible that you can host one or more in your yard. Shrubby habitats provide these handsome birds insects they uncover by scratching away leaf litter beneath shrubs and trees. The birds also eat the fruits, berries, or drupes of a wide range of native plants.
Here is a list of half a dozen native plants that provide food for brown thrashers: flowering dogwood, sassafras, black gum, American holly, Virginia creeper, pokeweed and American beautyberry.
I am fortunate that brown thrashers inhabit my yard throughout the entire year. I believe this due to several reasons. To begin with, five of the six plants listed above are growing on my small patch of Monroe County. I also have a variety of cultivated and native shrubs that offer the birds places to feed, escape severe weather and cold, as well as places to nest. I also supplement the wild foods grown in my yard with suet, and seed scattered beneath my feeders. In addition, I provide brown thrashers with three separate birdbaths where they to drink and bathe.
This formula is working for me. If brown thrashers are not currently visiting your yard, or, you would like to see the birds more often, perhaps one or more of these elements will work for you too. If your lacks native food plants, there is no better time to incorporate them in your landscape than this fall and winter.
More than 50 species of warblers inhabit North America. The most common warbler is the yellow-rumped warbler. The annual breeding population of this migrant is an astounding 170 million birds.
For quite some time, the birds I have seen or heard in my backyard are those are permanent residents. However, today one of the migratory birds that regularly spends the winter in my yard made its first appearance this fall. The bird I am referring to is the ruby-crowned kinglet.
I spotted the tiny, greenish-gray bird flitting among the dark green leaves of a sasanqua growing near my garage. I was not surprised to see it there. Most of the times that I see one, I spot it foraging for tiny insects, spiders, and the like in one of the many shrubs that are scattered around my backyard. Although ruby-crowned kinglets are known to also dine on tree sap, and berries such as those produced by poison, dogwood, I have never seen them do so.
I have never tried to attract kinglets to my feeders. However, each winter I see them dining on peanut-flavored bird butter. One year, I witnessed a ruby-crowned kinglet digging through white millet seeds; however, I cannot say I actually saw it eat one. However, others have reported them eating peanut hearts, chips of sunflower seeds and nuts. They also dine on peanut butter. Their winter diet also includes human delicacies such as cornbread and doughnuts.
Since the birds are, in most cases, infrequent visitors to our feeders, even if you have never seen one feeding there, if you have thick shrubs around your home, chances are this tiny bird is a winter resident in your yard too.
Since I posted the results of the survey concerning the departure dates for ruby-throated hummingbirds, a blogger from Lawrenceville wrote to say that they spotted a rubythroat flitting about their Mexican sunflowers October 31. This sighting pushes back the latest departure date for a ruby-throated hummingbird this year from October 25 to the 31st.
Another blogger took the time say that the Georgia Native Plant Society web page is helpful in locating local nurseries that deal in native plants. The blogger went on the say that the GNPS holds native plant sales during the year.
This is great information since anyone that tries to find sources of native plants knows nurseries deal with native plants is often hard to find.
A few weeks ago, I asked if you would be kind enough to report when you saw the last ruby-throated hummingbird in your yard this year. Responses to my request came from throughout the entire state. Here is a brief summary of what they responses revealed.
Departure days spread over 21 days extending from October 5 through October 25.
A Monroe homeowner last saw a hummingbird October 25.
Unfortunately, I do not have the name of the location where the earliest departure date took place.
Interestingly, most of the departures (47%) took place during a four-day period extending from October 11-14.
Most hummingbird watchers indicated that only one bird was the last to leave their yards. However, one blogger saw two (an immature male and a female) the last time they sighted hummers this year. One blogger even spotted three hummingbirds on the last day of their hummingbird season. My wife saw the last ruby-throated hummingbird in our Monroe County backyard October 12. This bird was nectaring at Turk’s cap blossoms.
While practically all of the rubythroats have now left Georgia, don’t forget we are in our second hummingbird season. If you maintain at least one feeder throughout the winter, you just might attract a rare western migrant this winter.
One of the bloggers responding to the survey wrote that during recent winters, two wintering hummingbirds have shown up in their backyard. One of them was an Anna’s hummingbird.
I want to thank everyone that took the time to participate in this survey. I hope you found the results of this survey fascinating. I know I sure did.
Everyone has an opinion as to what is the seed favored at feeders. Based on my experiences, I believe sunflowers seeds are favored by the most seed-eating feeder birds in Georgia. Some 40 species including cardinals, tufted titmice, Carolina chickadees, brown-headed and white-breasted nuthatches, house and purple finches are some of the birds that dine on sunflower seeds.
If you decide to purchase sunflower seeds, I recommend you purchase black-oil sunflower seeds. Black oil sunflower seeds have thinner shells, which permits birds to open them more easily. In addition, their kernels contain more fat and calories than striped sunflower seeds.