Lingering Birds

Rusty Blackbird photo from
Fox Sparrow photo by Leo Kulinski
Belted Kingfisher photo by Darlene Knox
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker photo by Leo Kulinski
The relatively mild weather that has blessed Connecticut for much of the past 6 weeks should have been conducive to let late migrant birds linger around here for longer than they usually would. This is especially likely when there is an abundance of wild food, as there is this year. However, unlike the waterbirds discussed in my last post, there don't seem to be all that many migrant landbirds lingering around here. They do take more effort to find than waterbirds, but we have tried to look for them on a few occasions this month. This is not to say that we haven't had some success. Yesterday, I was greeted by a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker when I went up onto the Museum's deck to fill the feeders. When they get hungry enough they will visit suet feeders. On the 7th, Mike Doyle had a Belted Kingfisher at Bantam Lake's Pt. Folly. They will occasionally stay through the winter if there is enough open water and an adequate supply of small fish to eat. On the 5th, Buzz Devine counted 86 Rusty Blackbirds in a flock along the north side of the Little Pond Boardwalk. Four days later, I saw 2 at Cemetery Pond. They are quite nomadic, and probably have gone farther south by now, but every year we find a few Rusties around here during the winter. Some Red-winged Blackbirds also spend the winter here. Our most recent report of them was from the Museum's feeders on the 10th. Though I haven't seen a Winter Wren or Fox Sparrow on White Memorial property since 11/25, that doesn't mean that 1 or 2 aren't around here somewhere. I have seen a Fox Sparrow elsewhere in Litchfield in the past week. It is a little odd that we haven't seen any big flocks of American Robins around here since 11/25, especially given the continued abundance of Winterberry Holly berries. They may be around; just not in places that we haven't visited lately. All that will change this coming Sunday, 12/18, when we plan to cover White Memorial's property and Bantam Lake as thoroughly as possible for the Litchfield Hills Christmas Bird Count. If you would like to help, please email me at I still need people who can work independently censusing birds along some of our outlying trails, like the Cathedral Complex and Trail Rider's Jump.

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