Through October I had quite early sightings of my winter birds returning to the area. Nights were hitting near zero already and the days were cool. It all made sense to me that our lack of summer and now a seemingly short-lived autumn, with the actions of my feathered friends, ment winter was coming early.
November hit and we started hitting some double digit days again. November 8th saw a high of +17c. Almost 3 weeks of zero precipitation. My winter arrivers became scarce. I've not seen the White Breasted Nuthatch more than once in the last two weeks. I hear Dark Eyed Juncos in the cedars but seldom see them. But this is not about these birds. This is about the few Red Winged Blackbirds that still remain here...
If it were one RWBB still hanging in here, I would think he/she was an older adult and not able to make the trip this year. Perhaps sick and knows it's best to live out his days near a reliable food source?
These birds are not unfamiliar with cold nights and snow. They often begin returning to the area in early March. They are MY first signs of the arrival of spring. As you can see below, the ice and snow doesn't bother them.
An adult male RWBB enjoying some seed at one of our many feeders pictured below...
Much of the last week, I have seen 3 or 4 flying in and out of the feeders. What gives? Juveniles that don't know any better? A rebellious small group who are challenging Mother Nature, defying their natural instinct to fly south, and possibly making some big changes in the coming years and what RWBBs normally do?
I've noticed similar patterns with American Robins in the last few years, discovering small numbers (flocks) deep within the woods nearby. They amaze me to no end as they are fruit and insect eaters; so what are they living on through the winter months? A definite sign of the changes to our world and the climate.
I wonder if anyone else has noticed such things?
The shot below was taken on February 2, 2009 at James Gardens in Etobicoke.