Every time I visited Douglass Park during January 2021, I found at least a dozen different kinds of birds. They ranged in size from tiny chickadees and goldfinches to tall Great Blue Herons and lumbering Canada Geese. They were eating wildflower seeds, crab apple fruits, lawn grasses, insects hibernating on and inside trees, and sometimes other birds and mammals.
This album includes photos of some of the birds I saw in Douglass Park during my January visits. Go here to see my Saturday January 30th eBird list, with 16 bird species and more photos: https://ebird.org/bcn/checklist/S80142751
And this link takes you to a list of all 22 species of birds reported in Douglass Park during January 2021: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L108460?m=1&yr=cur&changeDate=
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Although the return of large flocks of American Robins to Douglass Park will be a sign of spring, this lone robin never left the park! Instead, he has been camped out in some crab apple trees along Ogden Avenue. The trees provide both fruit to eat and tangled branches for protection from hawks.
American Crows hang out in Douglass Park year-round and even nest here in the summer. These crows were foraging by the Cultural Center parking lot.
When not looking for food, crows look for hawks to harass. This time they found the young Red-tailed Hawk that has been spending the winter in and around Douglass Park.
Looking at tracks in the golf course snow, it’s clear that there are lots of rabbits this year, which may be why the young Red-tailed Hawk is sticking with the park.
After the crows harassed the young Red-tailed Hawk, they found this young Red-shouldered Hawk in a different part of the park. The crow calls led me to the hawk, which I otherwise might have missed seeing.
The abundant summer and fall wildflowers in Douglass Park’s meadows produced enough seeds to feed several types of native sparrows this winter. This Swamp Sparrow usually hangs out in the dried wildflowers and reeds at the edges of the lagoon, but on Saturday it was searching for wind-blown seeds on a plowed sidewalk.
Song Sparrows have also been spending the winter in Douglass Park, including this one photographed in the dried reeds at the edge of sanctuary lagoon.
A couple of waves of migrating American Tree Sparrows swept through the park during late fall and winter, eating seeds still on the wildflowers, on the soil, or on paved paths.
Dark-eyed Juncos are usually the most common winter sparrow in the park. If you look long enough, you can almost always find a flock or two.
Juncos usually eat wildflower seeds, but they will also scavenge bits of bread or cereal that people leave behind. These two juncos were picking at the hunk of bread until a Black-capped Chickadee appropriated it.
More often the park’s chickadees hunt insects on tree bark, sometimes accompanied by this White-breasted Nuthatch.
Canada Goose flocks have been swarming the park’s lawns when they are clear of snow, then resting on the lagoons, whether they are open water or frozen. But the geese head elsewhere when the snow gets deeper than a few inches. By the way, these signs are why I call the fenced part of the park the sanctuary – it’s much more than just a golf course.
The Canada Goose with plastic leg band A873 is one of those geese that returns to Douglass Park in winter as long as there is grass accessible. She has been returning since at least the winter of 2014-2015. Banding records say she is at least 11 years old, but I first saw her six years ago.
I guess the ice finally got too thick on Douglass Park’s lagoons, because the Great Blue Heron that had been fishing under the old stone bridge has not been reported on eBird since January 19th. The heron could have flown south, or maybe it headed east or west to a local river with open water.
And this remainder from last summer is also a reminder of things to come once the weather warms. It’s a Baltimore Oriole nest, built in a small tree by one of the lagoons. Baltimore Orioles have nested in Douglass Park at least as long as I have been visiting to count birds, and we expect them back again this summer.
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