Red-shouldered Hawk 1150x ab BINNS AQ9I9529 copy

IN THE BACKYARD : Philadelphia early-November

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Nov 17, 2020 | by Adrian Binns

Amid a brilliant palette of autumn-hued leaves and ripe berries, my backyard birds may be enjoying the season as much as I am, in Philadelphia. November brings a solid transition to overwintering species, including a Red-breasted Nuthatch, which visited my feeders briefly on the 5th, and several Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets. A handful of Pine Siskins appear on most days – it’s been an irruptive year in southeastern PA for this northern species. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker mews occasionally, while we enjoy resident Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers every day.

Cedar Waxwing

On November 3, three Cedars Waxwings paid a short visit to pick off a few chokeberries from our native-shrub hedgerow. American Robins and Northern Mockingbird gobble many of the berries available this time of year.

Fox Sparrow

On November 16, we enjoyed a bonanza of “yard firsts.” We awoke to find the first-of-season Fox Sparrow foraging under the feeders amongst White-throated and House Sparrows. Our records show that we more often see Fox Sparrows in March, though we’ve seen a handful in the month of November. A beautiful adult Red-shouldered Hawk, yard bird #121, was sitting on the corner telegraph pole, then flew to a nearby tree where it called for about a half-hour.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Later in the afternoon, a Peregrine Falcon circled high against blue skies overhead, bringing our yard total to 122 species – not too shabby for a small lot in densely-developed suburbs of Philadelphia!

Peregrine Falcon

updated Nov 1-16, 2020

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