The seasons have changed. The grosbeaks, hummingbirds, and other birds of summer have left for more tropical climates, but they’ve been replaced. Ducks, loons and grebes that spent the summer in the far north are showing up on local ponds. Rough-legged Hawks sit where Swainson’s hung out a month or two ago. Sandhill Cranes are headed for their winter feeding grounds in New Mexico. Instead of Chipping Sparrows at my millet feeders, I have flocks of Juncos.
Since the actual number of birds doesn’t really seem to change that much, I often wonder why birds bother to migrate at all. If Juncos can survive the winter here, why not Chipping Sparrows? (more…)