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IN THE BACKYARD : Philadelphia in January

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Feb 1, 2021 | by Adrian Binns

After last month’s excitement of the long staying Allen’s Hummingbird in the yard, January has been relatively quiet, but there is still plenty of activity. I should mention that the Allen’s Hummingbird was re-found, earlier this month, 11 miles away in Philadelphia. Remarkable! You can read more on that story in a previous blog.

Brown Creeper

It has been most enjoyable having a pair of Brown Creepers work their way up our snag multiple times each day. At first light, well before sunrise I fill the feeders and scrape suet into the crevices on the snag, and often by the time I enter the house and turn around to look at the snag, a creeper has already shown up.

White-throated Sparrow

A dozen or more Dark-eyed Juncos are always in view along with half a dozen White-throated Sparrows. The mild weather has meant that the fall leaves that we spread in the beds have been easy enough for the sparrows including Song Sparrow, to scratch away in search of seed that I’ve scattered about.

Mourning Doves

Though House Sparrows, House Finches and European Starlings dominate the feeders, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinals, Downy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatches and Carolina Wren all manage to get their fill as well. Surprisingly, given that they are in the neighborhood, Red-bellied and Hairy Woodpecker along with a Northern Flicker have been very sporadic, only putting in or or two appearances! Mourning Doves patrol the floor and can often be seen resting under the cranberry bush when the sun is shinning.

Immature Cooper’s Hawk with House Sparrow

As many as two immature Cooper’s Hawks have been showing up on a regular basis. Often sitting patiently but occasionally swooping in and surprising the House Sparrows, of which we have far too many. It then becomes a game of hide and seek as the impatient accipiter walks under and through shrubs to flush a sparrow, and on occasion get its meal.

On February 10th, I hope that you’ll join my next webinar – A Year in my Backyard, about the birds and other wildlife that I’ve attracted to this small 1/4-acre Philadelphia suburb.

updated Jan 1-31, 2021

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