The birds in my garden are quiet now, as is typical for late autumn. The usual suspects show up early in the morning for their treats: Blue Jays are all-in for the unshelled peanuts; Black-crested Titmice, Carolina Chickadees, and Carolina Wrens favor sunflower seeds and shelled peanuts. The White-winged Doves flap around the pond and bobble in the garden, but at the moment, aren’t interested in what feeders offer. When spring approaches, that will change; doves are piggy birds. House Finches and House Sparrows are mostly about keeping clean in the birdbaths and at the waterfall feature of the pond.
Winter songbirds haven’t settled in yet as seasonal residents. These are the birds who migrate south from somewhere north and visit through winter and early spring, until the instinct to nest is paramount and they fly northward again–to mate and raise chicks, a timeless and universal cycle. These wintering birds are only here for a few months. I always look forward to their arrival and grieve when they leave.
I’ve had a couple of quick glimpses of a tiny, energetic Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Corthylio calendula, but it hasn’t stopped long enough for me to get a good photo. So far, no Yellow-rumped Warblers, Setophaga coronata, also known as Butter Butts, have appeared. It should be any day now that one–or several–come to my garden. The winter warblers see the garden as a safe haven for cover, water, and food.
I have enjoyed a few visits from an Orange-crowned Warbler, Leiothlypis celata. It hops along the branches of the Shumard Oaks, often hidden behind foliage, but probably snacking on insects. The small warbler is too high and covered up for me to see it clearly. When it wants a refreshing bath, it’s out in the open, wary of all, careful and alert. Garden paparazzi takes advantage of the warbler’s bath time.
I think this one is a she-bird, though it could be a juvenile he-bird. There’s no sign of the orange crown that would indicate a male; the orange top is noticeable during bathing, as well as during the impressing-the-gals-time.
I haven’t seen the Orange-crown at any feeder, though they typically favor suet, which I haven’t bought yet. It’s on my to-do list.
As it finished up its bath and fluff, the little beak is open; I wonder if it chirped its approval (I couldn’t hear from where I sat), appreciating the splash of the water.
This winter warbler was wet. Other winter warblers are on their way.