October Bird Forecast

October 11th, 2012 at 1:10 pm by under Weather

What to watch for in October: Pelicans

Here’s the Central Texas bird forecast for the month, courtesy of Travis
 Audubon. Learn more about Central Texas birds and bird-related events for all
 ages at travisaudubon.org or by calling 512-300-BIRD.

 Travis Audubon is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @TravisAudubon and give us a like at www.facebook.com/travisaudubon.

American White Pelican photo by David Slater via Creative Commons

Can’t-miss pelicans
More often seen along the coast, American White Pelicans may be making an appearance in Central Texas this month. They can sometimes be seen at Commons Ford Ranch, Hornsby Bend and Granger Lake. They have eight-foot wingspans, so if you see something large and white in the sky, with huge wings tipped in black, good chance it’s a pelican. They breed inland in places like the Great Plains, according to the website All About Birds (www.allaboutbirds.org), and winter along the Gulf Coast. They travel alone or in formations and often hunt for food in groups.

Also coming to town this month are Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers. These two small birds will stick around through the winter. The Orange-crowned is actually a pretty drab bird, olive-green all over with some yellow under its tail. Yellow-rumped Warblers are a little more distinctive, with, yes, yellow on their rumps and sides.

Red-breasted Nuthatch photo by Matt McGillivray via Creative Commons

Nuthatch surprise
This year, some parts of the U.S., including Texas, are getting a treat, with the irruption of Red-breasted Nuthatches. An irruption is nothing to be alarmed by: It simply means a bird species is spreading far beyond its usual zone. Nuthatches, which typically live in far northern climes, are being spotted in North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, according to eBird tracking data and the birdy blog 10000birds.com. A bird species typically irrupts because of a food shortage in its usual area, and in this case, there may have been a poor cone crop from such trees as balsam and fir.

Nuthatches are tiny, active birds, with long sharp bills and very short tails. They may appear at your feeder with chickadees and titmice, according to All About Birds, but they are mostly high up in treetops hunting along tree trunks and branches for insects. They have a call like a tiny tin horn: yank yank! They are mostly blue-gray birds with noticeable black-and-white patterned heads and rusty-brown bellies.

Upcoming events

Monthly Bird Count at Hornsby Bend
Saturday, October 13 – 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

The Big Sit! at Balcones Canyonlands NWR
Sunday, October 14 – all day (come out at any time)

Two-hour Tuesday! at Onion Creek Greenbelt led by Stan VanSandt
Tuesday, October 16 – 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Commons Ford with Ed Fair
Saturday, October 20 – 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Hornsby Bend Monthly Bird Walk
Saturday, October 20 – 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Balcones Canyonlands NWR – Plant Walk led by Diane Sherrill
Sunday, October 21 – 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Two-hour Tuesday! at Big Webberville Park led by Ken Zaslow
Tuesday, October 23 – 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Super Tuesday! at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historical Park led by Terry Banks
Tuesday, October 30 – 5:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Creating a Wildlife-Friendly Native Garden with Meredith O’Reilly
Saturday October 13

Family Fun with Wildlife Gardening with Meredith O’Reilly
Saturday October 20

Travis Audubon’s Introduction to Birds and Birding  with Shelia Hargis
Tuesdays October 15, 23, 30 and November 6:15-8:45 pm
Field Trips on following weekends

Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. Oct. 27: There’s still time to register for Travis Audubon’s signature fundraising event of the year, the Victor Emanuel Conservation Awards luncheon honoring Carter Smith of Texas Parks and Wildlife. More information at www.travisaudubon.org.

Travis Audubon monthly meeting, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18: At October’s regular Travis Audubon meeting, Victor Emanuel himself will speak about “The Greatest Birding Experience of My Life.” Since Victor is a world renowned birder and has been birding for more than 60 years, this is sure to be informative and fascinating. The meeting is held at First Presbyterian Church at 8001 Mesa Dr. It is free and open to the public, and refreshments are provided.

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