I saw 30 kinds of birds in Douglas Park during February, 2017. Twenty of those species had also been seen in the park during January. The other 10 showed up during and just after the abnormal warmth of the last half of the month.
Immediately below is a slide show with 14 of the 30 February birds on display. Keep scrolling down to find out more about the birds in the slide show.
Go here to see the full list of birds seen in the park during February, with the most recently spotted birds at the top of the list.
This Red-tailed Hawk has been hunting in Douglas Park since at least December of 2016. Either ambitious or foolish, this young bird has been seen chasing a Mallard over north lagoon and (twice) strafing and flushing large flocks of Canada Geese. In turn the park’s crows give the hawk a hard time, calling and diving at the hawk when it’s perched in trees.
Downy Woodpeckers are the smallest and most common woodpeckers in Douglas Park. I saw three or more Downy Woodpeckers during each of my February visits.
Most years Red-bellied Woodpeckers just visit Douglas Park during spring and fall migration. However, this Red-bellied Woodpecker has spent the whole winter in the park, often hanging out with the multi-species flock that is usually somewhere between the Cultural Center and the north end of the lagoon. (The many eyes of multi-species flocks are good for finding food and for spotting predators in time to warn their members to head for cover.)
During previous years White-breasted Nuthatches have just visited Douglas Park during late summer and fall migration. This nuthatch, however, has been seen crawling on park tree trunks during almost every visit this winter. It usually stayed pretty close to the Cultural Center’s multi-species flock.
Brown Creepers can be seen creeping up Douglas Park tree trunks almost every winter. This is a photo of the creeper I’ve been seeing and hearing this February.
American Goldfinches can be seen in Douglas Park year round. They usually eat wildflower seeds. However, this goldfinch is eating elm buds to help turn its feathers bright yellow for the summer.
Black-capped Chickadees are also year-round residents of Douglas Park. This winter some chickadees hung out with the multi-species flock by the Cultural Center, some were in the sanctuary, and at least one pair was usually seen south of Ogden.
Southerly winds in late February brought increasingly large numbers of Ring-billed Gulls to Douglas Park. Ring-billed Gulls have yellow legs and yellow bills with a black ring near the tip. (Earlier this winter the larger, pink-legged Herring Gulls had the park to themselves.)
At least a few American Tree Sparrows have been in the park all winter long. In late February their numbers started to increase as sparrows that spent the winter further south stopped by the park on their way north.
Male Red-winged Blackbirds have been singing in Douglas Park since at least February 19. That’s not a particularly early date for them to show up. Last year I saw my first Douglas Park Red-winged Blackbird on February 21, and in 2013 I saw my first on February 18.
There have been at least a few American Robins in Douglas Park all winter long, probably subsisting on dried crab apples. The robin count was up to nine during my last February visit. There may be a couple of dozen robins in the park later this spring, but the really high robin counts come once the crab apples and hackberries ripen in the fall and early winter. I counted 200 robins in the park on December 13, 2013.
Song Sparrows had returned to Douglas Park by February 23rd. Most years at least a couple of Song Sparrows nest in the park, so listen for their songs at least through mid summer.
My most exciting February find was this male Eastern Bluebird. On February 23rd, he flew north over the soccer field and landed in this crab apple tree filled with dried fruit. I hoped he would stick around until all the fruit was gone, but I could not find any bluebirds during my February 26th visit to the park.
On February 19th and 23rd I heard Killdeer flying over the park, calling, but they never settled down to earth while I was watching. Then, on February 26th, I found 11 Killdeer foraging for food on, of all places, the artificial turf soccer field. I’m not sure what they were eating, but I hope it had nothing to do with the goose poops that litter the field this time of year.
Go here to see a preview of the birds that may be arriving at Douglas Park this spring.