The days are noticeably longer and small hints of things to come are evident from local bird behavior. I’ve heard male Black-capped Chickadees doing some tentative singing and the Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers have been drumming a bit as the sun rises. I’ve also noted the Common Ravens are starting to get a little territorial and crabby about trespass by others. Optimistic observations, yes…, but I know there’s still plenty of winter left.
So far, January weather has been quite varied. A record breaking warm spell in the second week brought steady rain and dropped snow levels by about half. The ice cover on some area streams opened up and wintering waterfowl took advantage and moved around a bit. Some icing at the tail end of the warm spell probably made it difficult for the birds that make a living picking cocoons and pupae out of crevices on trees... Recently, its been bitterly cold and snow depths have resurged back to their early January depths.
A notable observation this month, is the dramatic lack of birds out in the woods. Several northern
The good news is, that things are busy at area feeders. Some county birders are reporting a fairly dynamic feeder population with regular changes in species and overall numbers. Seed sales have been brisk at the Presque Isle seed store.
The Mallard and American Black Duck flock has held steady in Presque Isle. Black Ducks were seen in
Bald Eagles continue to be seen in
A Ruffed Grouse was seen sunning itself in Westmanland on the 20th. Barred Owls were heard in
The Three-toed Woodpecker was seen on the 5th at the usual spot along the
Blue Jays were one of the most widely reported bird species in Aroostook County this month. Ken Lamb photographed this jay at his feeder in Chapman. A few American Crows continue to winter all they way up to Madawaska and
Several observers reported declining Mourning Dove flocks recently.
Large numbers of Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches have been reported at feeders across the area. White-breasted Nuthatches are being seen at feeders in Caribou and Presque Isle. An uncommon Brown Creeper was a one-day visitor to my yard in
An adult Northern Shrike was chasing redpolls at a feeder in Mt Chase.
A sharp looking male Eastern Towhee over-wintering at a feeder in
A White-throated Sparrow was reported in Presque Isle and American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos were seen in several locations in the past week. Reports of Snow Bunting flocks have declined a bit but single birds were seen over last weekend in Caribou and
Large numbers of Pine Grosbeaks continue to be reported from across the area. High counts included 35 in Mt Chase, 30+ in Castle Hill, 20+ in
Common Redpolls have been frequently reported in northern
Its not often that there are as many Hoary Redpolls to report as Pine Siskins but this was the case this week. Usually rare, Hoarys have been seen recently at feeders in
(The Siskins were visiting in Caribou,