Surviving Winter in Douglass Park

Inspired by Neal’s snowy visit to the south side of Douglass Park on Friday morning, I decided to post some photos from my visit to the park on Saturday morning, February 20th. I found some nature! There were 11 species of birds that had survived the recent bitter cold and continuing snow, but some of them were doing unnatural things.

In addition to the usual pigeons and House Sparrows around Mt. Sinai Hospital, I also found a small flock of American Tree Sparrows foraging on plowed pavement by the tennis courts. Other south-of-Ogden birds were a Downy Woodpecker, cardinal, and flyover Herring Gull.

I did not try to walk in the deep snow inside the sanctuary fence, but I did hear cardinals calling and singing at the edges of the golf course. This male cardinal posed for a bit in a small tree at the west edge of the golf course.

I found this Red-bellied Woodpecker plucking bugs from the bark and wood on trees just east of the iron bridge.

There were also a bunch of other birds just east of the iron bridge, but they weren’t eating their usual natural foods, like bugs and seeds. Park visitors had dumped their leftover fast food at the edges of the road, and the Downy Woodpeckers and Dark-eyed Juncos were taking advantage of the unnatural food source.

This Black-capped Chickadee flew down and started picking bits from the same bread the Downy Woodpecker had been eating.

And a male cardinal also picked at the same piece of bread.

The Dark-eyed Juncos found their own patch of litter, with lots of biscuit crumbles. Elsewhere in the park American Crows were also picking through trash in search of leftovers.

This Gray Squirrel was trying to figure out how to open a container of, what, salad dressing or dipping sauce? (photographed on February 20, 2021)

Just to be clear, I don’t encourage littering Douglass Park with leftovers from your fast-food meals. If the birds run out of natural food in the park, they will just fly elsewhere, like the Canada Geese did when the snow got too deep. But it was kind of interesting to see that urban birds found urban ways to survive an urban winter.

My full eBird list from Saturday morning is here: https://ebird.org/bcn/checklist/S82013106

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