Now that summer's birds are gone, what can we expect to see in southwestern Pennsylvania at this time of year?
November isn't as boring as you might think.
- On lakes and rivers you'll find ducks, cormorants, loons, Canada geese, and sometimes tundra swans.
- In the woods:
- The owls have more time to hunt and hoot during November's longer nights. Listen for great-horned owls and eastern screech-owls in the woods and suburbs. I've heard a barred owl on my walk home through Schenley Park. He's unusual in the city.
- With the leaves off the trees, the woodpeckers are visible as they hammer the ash trees infested with emerald ash borer. Migrating yellow-bellied sapsuckers will pause to drill for sap.
- The golden-crowned kinglets are back.
- At the bird feeders our resident cardinals, chickadees, titmice and nuthatches are joined by a wide selection of seed eaters including white-throated sparrows, fox sparrows, American tree sparrows, and dark-eyed juncos.
- At dusk watch for flocks of robins, starlings and crows gathering to roost.
- Best of all, November's the month to see V's of migrating tundra swans on their way to the Chesapeake and eastern North Carolina. They call "woo, woo, woo" as they fly. You'll even hear them at night.
Keep looking up.
(photo of a barred owl by Marge Van Tassel)