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Backyard Birds: November 2013

I love watching and counting our backyard birds. As part of Project Feederwatch I am observing two days a week, a few minutes per day. Participating in this citizen science project has brought such focus to our birdwatching. We constantly are reminded that if we didn’t put in the effort, we would miss out on so many learning opportunities.

We saw a House Finch last week that has eye disease. This led to a bit of research on the All About Birds website. We learned the causes and the action we need to take when we see a House Finch with an eye disorder. You can read more on Cornell’s Website.

Today we saw a bunch of Juncos…one even posed on the back deck railing. Look at those feet. It spurred me on to pull out the bird feet activity from a few weeks ago to try to discover what kind of feet the Junco has.

It was quite an exciting afternoon when we spotted two Ruby Crowned Kinglets in our front yard. If you look closely in the center of this photo you will spy a little bird with red feathers on his head. He is fast so I wasn’t able to get a very clear photo of him but there he is! He is so light that he can land on branches of the butterfly bushes and they don’t even sag. He can sort of hover over the branch as well…amazing. I was able a few years ago to get a good photo in this entry: November Birds.

Here is our November 2013 List of Birds:
House Finch
White Crowned Sparrow
Dark Eyed Junco
Oak Titmouse
Anna’s Hummingbird
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Spotted Towhee
Western Bluebird
White Breasted Nuthatch
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Western Scrubjay
Bewick’s Wren – new to our life list
Northern Mockingbird
Ruby Crowned Kinglet

I am so looking forward to December bird watching!

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Handbook of Nature Study – November Bird List

November Birdfeeder Station
Our front yard feeder has been busy, busy, busy the last few weeks. The colder nights and mornings seem to draw the birds out to our feeders and it is a joy to watch each day from our front window. I joined Project Feederwatch this year for the very first time and I am thoroughly enjoying counting birds two days a week…just a few minutes a day.

We have had some wonderful bird visitors to enjoy and it makes me happy to see them spending time in our yard plantings and feeders.

Western Bluebird November
Here is our beautiful Western bluebird in the Pistache tree. We don’t see these regularly so it is a treat when they flock into the trees to snack and then sun themselves.

Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Our most exciting new friend is the Ruby-crowned kinglet. We have nicknamed him Rudy the Ruby. He looks much like a little goldfinch but there is a bright orange patch on the top of his head…the feathers sort of ruffle up to show the color. These images are taken through our living room window when Rudy was sitting in the bushes looking into the house right at me. He came four days in a row and landed on the same branch….I loved being able to get a really good look at him up close. Thanks Rudy.

Ruby Crowned Kinglet in bushes
Here he is with his feathers down. Interesting huh?

November House Sparrows in the Birdbath
This is the first year we placed a birdbath in the frontyard and I am always amazed at how many birds each day come to bathe and drink from this water source. I highly recommend putting out a birdbath to attract bird visitors. We found that if we put a few rocks in the middle of the birdbath, making the water a little more shallow, more birds actually bathe. Don’t they look like they are having fun?

Now for our November Bird List:
Yard and Feeders

  1. California Towhee
  2. American Robin
  3. Western scrub jay
  4. House sparrows
  5. House finches – really pink right now
  6. Lesser goldfinches
  7. Anna’s hummingbird – still several birds that come everyday to the feeder
  8. White-breasted nuthatch
  9. Spotted towhee
  10. Oak titmouse
  11. Dark-eyed juncos
  12. White-crowned sparrows
  13. European starlings
  14. Western bluebirds
  15. Great horned owl – hooting 5 AM
  16. Mourning doves – sweet pair
  17. Ruby-crowned kinglet – new to our life list!

Travels around town and to the Sierra

  1. American Crow
  2. Canada geese
  3. Brewer’s blackbirds
  4. Steller’s jay
  5. Pigeons
  6. Turkey vulture
  7. Snowy egret – flying
  8. Red-tail hawk
  9. California quail
  10. Bald eagle!
  11. Mallards
  12. White-headed woodpecker
  13. California gulls
  14. Osprey
  15. Common raven

This was the best birding month in a very long time. My field guide has been busy and our bird list is always handy.

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There is a wealth of birding information on the internet but I have not found a more homeschool-friendly site than the ones sponsored by Cornell University. I would love to encourage you all to subscribe to their homeschool blog (click the logo above to pop over there now).

You can also follow them on Facebook .
You can download their FREE Homeschool Guide to Project Feederwatch.
Of course, my favorite resource is their AllAboutBirds website which is a great tool for identifying and learning more about birds in your own neighborhood.

We also are submitting this post to Heather’s Tweet and See link-up.
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