Purple Finch f 2000x ab BINNS D64A7356 copy

IN THE BACKYARD : Philadelphia late-October

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Nov 5, 2020 | by Adrian Binns

The October landscape in southeastern Pennsylvania is gorgeous, as leaves turn orange and yellow, and berries ripen bold and red. During the latter half of the month, my backyard chokeberry and winterberry shrubs were bursting with berries, attracting hungry birds and chipmunks.

Tennessee Warbler

Several late-departing breeding birds were seen, including Northern Parula and Tennessee Warbler – they spend the winter in the tropics from Central to northern South America, and need to keep moving for their long migratory journey ahead. An Eastern Towhee foraged under our feeders on October 17, and a late Blue-headed Vireo passed by on the 27th.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

As expected, an influx of Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Yellow-rumped Warblers visited our well-vegetated suburban habitat – some of which may linger in our area through the winter.

Pine Siskin

By all accounts, this is shaping up to be an excellent year for winter finches throughout the mid-Atlantic. A few female Purple Finches (main photo) have visited our feeders, and Pine Siskins have shown up almost daily in varying numbers. We are still waiting for Evening Grosbeaks to visit; our odds are good, given the large number of sightings and movement of the species in PA, NJ and surrounding states. It has been many decades since such a phenomenon of Evening Grosbeaks in the east!

Northern ‘yellow-shafted’ Flicker

Accipiters have been surprisingly elusive in the backyard, though I did see an immature Cooper’s Hawk take out one of our 40 plus House Sparrows (they are welcome to take more, LOL!) Our resident Northern Flicker spent several days near the base of our feeders prodding the soft ground for ants while a female Red-bellied Woodpecker showed frequently each day at the peanut feeder. I look forward to see what the rest of Autumn brings to my backyard!

updated Oct 17-31, 2020

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