Fewer Mixed Blackbird Flocks at My Feeders 2020

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Common Grackles are Often Part of Mixed Flocks
Common Grackles are Often Part of Mixed Flocks

Large mixed “blackbird” flocks are the bane of backyard birdwatchers in late winter and early spring. Appearing in mass, groups of Common Grackles, European Starlings, Brown-Headed Cowbirds and Red-Winged Blackbirds can take over feeders and push other birds out. But this year, for many reasons, the blackbird flocks are not as much of a problem in my yard. Some of this is because of things I’ve done to set up my feeders and some is beyond my control.

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Bird Watching in The Time of Coronavirus & Social Distancing

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Pine Warbler on a Bird Feeder
Pine Warbler on a Bird Feeder

With the Covid-19 Coronavirus seemingly poking into every corner of everyday life, there is one pleasure we can continue to enjoy: watching birds. Whether taking a walk in a park or your neighborhood, sitting in your yard or simply looking out the window, bird watching can be a soothing activity in a stressful time. It can take your mind off things for a little while and give you a break from the current stresses of life. Here are some ideas for working some bird watching into your social distancing.

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A Baltimore Oriole Who Didn’t Migrate

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Juvenile Male Baltimore Oriole on Feeder
Juvenile Male Baltimore Oriole On Feeder

It is January in Maryland and I have a Baltimore Oriole hanging out in my back yard. Most orioles migrate south in the winter, although each year a very rare few stick it out through the Mid-Atlantic winter and don’t migrate. A juvenile male, this Baltimore Oriole showed up in my yard on December 23rd as I was cooking for our upcoming Christmas Eve celebration. I wondered why this Baltimore Oriole didn’t migrate and what in the world it could be eating. He’s come by at least daily ever since. While I still don’t know why he didn’t migrate with the rest, I have learned of at least some of this oriole’s unusual winter diet.

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