Swift Current (March 1-12)
It has been an interesting first twelve days of March.... freezing cold and snow, and a Spring melt with above freezing temperatures! I like the latter temperatures much better, and it seems the critters do, too!
The first several days of March have bought the following to our yard and immediate neighbourhood:
3 Downy Woodpeckers (2 males & 1 female) **
1 Red-shafted Northern Flicker
1 Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker
up to 4 Black-billed Magpies
2 Black-capped Chickadees
up to 4 Red-breasted Nuthatches
at least 50 Bohemian Waxwings
8 Cedar Waxwings
up to 22 House Finches
a few House Sparrows
1 Gray-phased Eastern Gray Squirrel
2 or 3 Black-phased Eastern Gray Squirrels
1 Nuttall's Cottontail
Deer (tracks and droppings in our front yard)
The morning of March 9, it was beautiful out... with the sun shining and temperatures warming up accordingly. LOVE was in the air... The House Finches and House Sparrows were singing and the males were posturing and chasing rivals off 'their tree branches'! The Red-breasted Nuthatch pair were also posturing and defending their nest log from the other rival pair that visits the yard and feeders. Mid-morning, I looked out the front window and saw something I have never been witness to before -- ** two male Downy Woodpeckers posturing and drumming on the neighbour's Mayday tree across the street, while entertaining and trying to get the attentions of the female Downy Woodpecker in the same tree. The female Downy Woodpecker would respond to the attentions by wiping her beak on the branch, then flying to the next branch when one or both males got too close to her. It was quite feathertaining to watch these three interact. The Red-breasted Nuthatch seemed to be their cheering squad as he bounced around 'yank yanking' nearby, also in the same tree. I have seen and heard Downy Woodpeckers drumming but have never witnessed the posturing.
Around the City, we have been seeing Rock Pigeons, a few Black-billed Magpies and House Sparrows as well as a few Common Ravens (4 hanging around the Hwy 1 and 4 intersection, and 1 around the Hwy 1 and 11th Av NW exit.)
Late afternoon March 8, there were 2 White-tailed Deer on the east side of the tree row along Hwy 4 immediately north of Battleford Trail, and a herd of 12 Pronghorn immediately north of the dugout on the west side of Hwy 4 just north of Battleford Trail.
One of our local Southwest Naturalists saw 4 American Crows flying over the southside of Swift Current at the beginning of this week (March 10?). The same lady also still has the White-throated Sparrow in her yard (it has been around all winter!)
As Spring gets closer, and migrants start arriving, we wish you all Happy Birding!!
- Mary Ann and Larry, Swift Current, SK
50° 17' 00" N - 107° 48' 00" W