Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Minnesota Birds

Over the past two months, I have posted a bunch of Costa Rican images. But I have also photographed a number of common Minnesota birds that I will quickly share with you now. I have linked each species to my previous posts with more information. The first image is of the yellow-shafted race of the Northern Flicker. I have written about how, out West, the flickers have red or orange shafts to their feathers. Winter is a good time to look for these western birds in Minnesota.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are fairly common in our back woods, although we hear them more often than see them. In the second Red-bellied photo, you can actually make out the bird’s red belly.
Earlier this fall, on 12 November, Erika and I strolled in the Carleton College Arboretum. We happened upon a large flock of American Tree Sparrows. On this late afternoon, the setting winter sun cast a pretty yellowish light across the prairie.
 
Beginning birders are often surprised by winter records of American Robins. But robins are always possible anywhere sufficient berries remain on bushes or trees. From banding, my hypothesis is that our winter birds breed much further north and west of us. Winter robins tend to be much darker than our breeding birds. This robin, however, is relatively pale. Perhaps, on 27 November, it is just a slow migrant. Or my hypothesis is wrong.
Finally, on 28 November, I discovered a Greater White-fronted Goose among the larger Canada Geese in a suburban pond here in Northfield. White-fronts are common enough in eastern Minnesota, although nowhere near as abundant as migrant through the Dakotas.

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