Big Country Audubon Society

Big Country Blog

Late October, 2008

It is our passion to highlight the avian populations of the Big Country, to chronicle their annual migratory movements or to highlight avian behavior. This week’s post covers both situations. With the strongest of cold fronts moving into the Big Country this fall,


I captured the frontal passage at Lake Kirby (above). While the cold wind blew, a juvenile Osprey was dining on his morning’s catch:


When the cold front’s gusty wind knocked it off its perch, what do you think it did?

Lorie found some unusual ducks floating out at Ft. Phantom Lake October 24, 2008:


Do you know what they are? Do you have any ideas as to their origin? We have an idea, take a look here.

New member Joe Thompson sent in a photo of a moody American White Pelican wintering at Kirby Lake, October 19, 2008:


Several hundred stopped by mid-October and it will be interesting to see how many will hang around as winter sets in.

To find out the latest in Big Country bird news, check out the Late October Gallery. You’ll discover what the Osprey did when the cold front blew it off its perch, see a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk wintering in the area, and meet a contortionist robin. And don’t forget to check out the Sightings for a complete list of what has been seen recently. If you have an interesting photo you’d like to share with us, drop us a note.

Site Fidelity in October

Last year (2007) at Dyess AFB, TX, a beautiful white morph Red-tailed Hawk decided to overwinter on base:


Last Friday (October 17, 2008) I photo’d another white morph Red-tail. If it is the same hawk that hung out last year, it is showing site fidelity. With birds, site fidelity is when they complete their migration for hundreds or thousands of miles they not only return to the same area, but they will return to the same tree and branch, as if it were their home.

Another bird behavior I observed while on base happened with the Eastern Bluebirds. They were checking out nestboxes:


All the nestboxes on base have been relocated to telescoping eight-foot poles in an effort to thwart predation. Several bluebirds were already inspecting their potential new summer homes. One pair of bluebirds, however, was defending their previous nestbox! This is spring nesting behavior. Were some bluebirds just playing house? or actually getting a head start in the house hunting department?

And one last bird seen last week almost stumped me as to its identity. Do you know who this sleeping beauty is?


To find out the mystery bird’s ID and see the pictures of the white morph Red-tail and Eastern Bluebirds house hunting, check out the Site Fidelity Gallery. Feel free to tell me if I have mis-identified the sparrow!

Blind Sightings

I bet you thought I was never going to post again. Uh…me to! But here I am to let you know what happens when you throw up a portable blind and watch the birds on the move in the Big Country. Warblers began their migration at the end of September and I caught a few in all their digital beauty:


John caught a flicker arriving for the winter:


and Kim caught more than feathers.


Without blind assistance Dan caught a migrant at a local pond catching a meal:


and Lorie caught a sapsucker settling in at the Abilene State Park:


I’ve thrown a bunch of pictures into the Blind Sightings Gallery and I know you’ll enjoy them! And thank you, members for sending your pictures our way. If you have seen something we didn’t catch slipping into the Big Country, drop us a note and let us know what you found.