Date: 2/22/21 6:57 am From: Timothy Brush <timothy.brush...> Subject: [texbirds] cold snap in the Valley
It "only" got down to the low 20s here in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, but of course that is still stressful for birds. Our locally wintering Eastern Bluebirds survived, and Green Jays visited our feeding station for the first time in a week. I have noticed this a few times with Green Jays--they lay low during the coldest weather, and then come back to our feeders. Maybe they are eating cached seeds in more sheltered areas. We set "yard records" with about 100 House Sparrows and 7 Inca Doves during our inclement weather. In our neighborhood, about 25 Cedar Waxwings were swarming over a frost-hit Brazilian pepper yesterday, getting the last of the fruits. Still waiting to see if our Vermilion Flycatcher is still around.
From: <texbirds-bounce...> <texbirds-bounce...> on behalf of Jane F Tillman <jtillman...>
Sent: Sunday, February 21, 2021 5:19 PM
To: texbirds <texbirds...>
Subject: [texbirds] Re: Yellow-rumped Warblers
This email originated outside of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
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My Carolina Wrens survived the freeze, as did the Bewick's Wren. The Carolinas even sang on the bitterly cold days as did some cardinals. The wrens were eating suet, as were the fittest Yellow-rumps, one RC Kinglet (not sure it survived), and the woodpeckers.
I had mentally written off the local Eastern Phoebe but it or another one showed up a couple of days ago to my surprise. I don't know what it was eating to survive. What I mainly supported were many Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches, as well as several hardy Lesser Goldfinches. They responded well to a sunflower chip/thistle mix (the thistle was tossed aside-perhaps not enough calories for effort expended?) The Hermit Thrush appeared to also eat the sunflower chips-not on its food list in AllAboutBirds. But it looks pretty fit today.
One thing that was really popular with the robins was an area of my yard with very deep leaf litter. There were at least 10 foraging in it on one of the days before the snow.
I did notice that roughly 95% of my backyard birds stopped feeding at about 330 p.m. each day during the storm, even though there was still plenty of light and food. I sort of expected them to eat until the last minute, and wonder if that points to the importance of getting settled in for the night-is there competition for good roost spots?
I do hope the insects will rebound soon for all the insectivores here, and on the way! An Eastern Bluebird caught some kind of beetle today at Commons Ford Ranch which was a good sign.
On Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 3:23 PM Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...><mailto:<josephkennedy36...>> wrote:
I am still feeding 100's of yellow-rumps all through the cold although it got very close as I could not make bark butter. Still feeding at least 20 cups a day and they would eat more if someone would make it faster. cannot tell if all 600-700 or higher made it but there are 350 or so at one time with many more out along the bayou.
Some will land on me while I am putting out the food and at least 150 waiting if the food has run out. Last year most migrated sometime in the next week so it will be interesting to see if the horde leaves like last year as they are keeping fat at least compared to finding bugs on their own with ice in the teens. Some were flycatching Thursday pm and catching stuff when it had just gotten above 40 here.
On Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 2:21 PM Jack Evins <jcevins...><mailto:<jcevins...>> wrote:
My sister, on her farm in north Brazos County, reported numerous Yellow-Rumped Warblers (and a few Eastern Phoebes) had died on her property during the big freeze early this week. Whether lack of water or insect food, or sheer cold, I'll leave to others more knowledgeable for comments.
On Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 1:35 PM Gary Yoder <geycal...><mailto:<geycal...>> wrote:
We still have tons of Yellow rumps in our neighborhood in Katy. What we are
most obviously missing are Carolina wrens. We've heard exactly one in the
neighborhood since the storm started vs. at least 4 to 6 on our daily
morning walks and a couple in our back yard.
Yellow-rumped Warblers are somewhat unique in that they maintain a constant
state of migration readiness during migration and winter. So with onset of
severe weather they migrate immediately. Consequently they are likely south
of the U.S. They will move back north with these south winds this week and
may soon return.