Handbook of Nature Study – December Bird List with Two New Birds!

December Bird List - 
Our Family’s On-Going Record of Our Bird Sighting 
A Life Project

We have had a busy and full month watching birds in our yard and as part of our December travels. Project Feederwatch has become a natural part of our weekly routine and helps us take a few minutes two days a week to count birds that come to our feeders. First a few interesting photos and then this month’s bird list!

White Breasted Nuthatch 3

First off, our sweet and fabulous White-breasted nuthatch resident…or at least one of the three that entertain us everyday with their acrobatics on our backyard tree trunks. Ups and downs and lots of pecking are observed as we watch out the window. They also have a very distinct bird sound that they make and we are alerted to look up when we are outside and they are present. If you click the link above and click the Pacific song, you will hear what our nuthatch sounds like (there is an Eastern song as well).

White Breasted Nuthatch 2
I had to zoom this one in and crop it to show you this cute little guy and his expression.

California Towhee and House Sparrow in the Feeder

Our beloved California Towhee in the feeder….usually he scratches around under the feeder but today he showed up for pictures. Isn’t he interesting with his pink-orange rump and pink-orange around the eye? There is always a pair in the yard and they don’t ever stray very far from each other. We learned that the colored patch under the tail is called the “crissum”.

California Towhee - Tail View

Here is the other half of the pair….up on the branch, waiting for a turn in the feeder. (Males and females look alike.)

Spotted Towhee with seed

Since we started participating in Project Feederwatch, we have seen three of these Spotted Towhees in the yard. They are strikingly beautiful birds and since they are not year-round residents we try to enjoy them while they are here.

Sparrow
I love the way this bird friend is clinging to the twig and posing. You can see the dried up blackberries on the vine that we left from the summer garden. The birds are seen frequently stopping by for a purple snack.

Western Bluebird
The Western bluebird enjoys a little bath this time in our front yard. I still get excited when he comes to visit. They usually come in a small bunch and then leave all at the same time. Lovely.

Anna's Hummingbird
Here is the very best shot of the Anna’s Hummingbird at our feeder that I could capture to share. The flash accidentally went off but that really shows his beautiful ruby/pink/iridescent color. We have one or two at a time in the feeder these days, usually a male and a female. There might be more than two since the feeder is emptied frequently even at this time of the year.

In Our Yard – mostly at the feeders

  1. Spotted towhee
  2. Dark-eyed junco
  3. House sparrow
  4. White-crowned sparrow
  5. Mourning dove
  6. Western bluebird
  7. Mockingbird
  8. Western scrub jay
  9. American robin
  10. White-breasted nuthatch
  11. California towhee
  12. House finches
  13. Lesser goldfinches
  14. Anna’s hummingbird
  15. Oak titmouse
  16. Ruby-crowned kinglet
  17. Acorn woodpecker

Out and About:

  1. American crow
  2. Northern flicker
  3. California quail
  4. Steller’s jay
  5. Wild turkeys
  6. Brewer’s blackbird
  7. Pigeons
  8. White-tailed kite ***New to our life list
  9. Red-tail hawk
  10. Barn swallow
  11. Bewick’s wren ***New to our life list
  12. Downy woodpecker – hanging on a tall weed (more on that later)

Bird Sleuth button
There is a wealth of birding information on the internet but I have not found a more homeschool-friendly site than the ones sponsored by Cornell University. I would love to encourage you all to subscribe to their homeschool blog (click the logo above to pop over there now).

You can also follow them on Facebook .
You can download their FREE Homeschool Guide to Project Feederwatch.
Of course, my favorite resource is their AllAboutBirds website which is a great tool for identifying and learning more about birds in your own neighborhood.

I would love for other families to join ours in watching your feeder birds. It is super easy and you just need to devote a few minutes a week to getting to know your feeder birds one bird at a time. Email me with any questions you have about the program.

So which bird photo did you like the most? I think I like the California towhee in the feeder the best since it is one that I have been trying to snap for awhile now.

Comments

  1. Didn’t know Cornell had a blog! I really liked the picture of your hummingbird because of the bright color you were able to capture. Here in the desert of NM, the color on our hummers is almost non-exsistent. They are mostly brown like everything else here!

  2. Sydni,
    Our hummers look black unless the light hits them just right and then you can see the brilliant color. Sometimes I think I see a new kind of hummer because they look all black but then the light will shine on their head and I can see it is our normal Anna’s.
    I saw some really pretty hummers in Arizona when we were there, always humming around the ocatillo.
    Thanks for the comment!

  3. I absolutely adore your happy shot of the white breasted nuthatch. It’s like he’s saying ‘hello! I love your yard!’ That distinctive pose makes me happy. Wonderful photos. Like a visit. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Tricia,

    My pleasure…really fun to share my bird passion with all of you.

  5. I love our Eastern Towhees, but the male and female look significantly different here. One reason I love them: the males sing, “Drink your tea, drink your tea!”

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