October 10, 2014
The Shagbark Hickories (Carya ovata) and their surroundings are full of visitors lately. It appears many of the birds of prey (mostly hawks here--I've seen them in action) have migrated south for the season. The garden, which had been rather quiet of late is once again filled with action.
The turkeys are back. (Today I caught them tramping through my perennials. They don't do much damage, though.)
Many of the favorite little songbirds--including chickadees, finches, and nuthatches--are more numerous at the feeders near the cover of the Hickories. All three, however, are with us year-round.
The Downies and the Hairies (woodpeckers) are here in greater numbers, too, although they tend to spend more time on the Oak trees and occasionally at the feeders. I think this one is a Hairy Woodpecker.
The chipmunks are here, year-round, too. Not much to do with the Hickory trees (the chippers scurry near the ground), but this little guy was so cute I had to share.
The Shagbarks, like everything else in October, are in a state of transition. Some of the leaves are still green, while others have turned. Every day they're more vibrant.
I wish I could convey the golden glow of the sunlight through the leaves. In a few days, the leaves will be completely gold, and then they'll drop.
I included this photo to show how more light is penetrating through the branches. Plus, from this angle the tree looks like a person.
But the most unusual thing about the Hickory surrounds this October is the vast quantity of our state bird, the American Robin. Of course, it's a common bird here. But we've never had so many visiting our garden all at once. For several days now, they've been here en masse. At one point, I counted 12 at the birdbath, alone. At any given time, I'd guess there are 50-100 (or more?) on our property.
Whenever I walk outside, they disperse a bit, so some of these photos were taken from the inside looking out through glass. In this photo, I see at least three in the Shagbark tree.
Karin at Southern Meadows mentioned they're probably migrating through, which makes sense. Some will stay here through the winter, although we don't see them much because they seek open sources of water near warm springs and fast rivers. This page from Journey North explains their migratory activities.
I've taken these common birds for granted in the past, but this season they're so plentiful I've found them quite entertaining. Here are a few highlights:
Apparently, the Hickories, the birdbath, and the garden are to their liking.
I'm linking this post to Loose and Leafy's Tree Following meme. Head on over to learn about trees (and their visitors) from around the world.