Your favorite fall feathered friends return

   This time of year, many of my articles focus on fall migration. However, this article focuses not on fall migration, but the year-round forest dwellers that emerge in the fall to find food sources for the winter. Already I have seen (or heard) Carolina chickadees, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, northern flickers, and today some tufted titmice. These are all forest-dwelling birds that are somewhat difficult to find during spring and summer, unless you are lucky enough to know where they are nesting (or by sheer dumb luck, as was with me on one occassion, they nest nearby and you don't even know it). But come fall (and though unofficially, it has), these birds come out of the dark depths of Ohio's deciduous forests to forage for food to last them through the winter.

   It is my personal opinion that fall is the best season, surpassing all the others by far. But to be honest, I am an outdoorsman in every sense of the word- if it's outside, I'll love it: camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, just wasting time outside doing nothing in particular, and yes, even outdoor work. And that is a big part of why I love fall so much more than the rest of the seasons. The weather is cool and low in humidity, but not too cool. It is comfortable for all of the activities mentioned above and then some. But also as a big bonus, the changing leaves make for beautiful landscapes wherever your eyes may stray to. And best of all? The birding! The annual massive migration of southbound songsters, especially warblers, when it is possible to rack up a list of 35+ species without effort in a relatively small area in a relatively short ammount of time (and most of the birds are ones that you only see in the spring and fall migrations).

File:Tufted titmouse perched on sugar maple branch (4686398153).jpg

An inquisitive tufted titmouse*

   It is probably known to most of my readers that I only feed the birds (with the exception of hummingbirds, of course) during the fall and winter months. However, this year I will not be feeding seed (that is, not as much seed), but mainly suet. I purchased and put out my first suet two days ago. And now today, I saw the first bird of the year at it- a tufted titmouse.  The tufted titmouse used to be my favorite bird, but though it no longer holds 1st place, it is still a particular favorite, as it is a very good looking little bird, and a very entertaining one, also. Hopefully this first fall visitor will lead to many more. I am hoping that in a short time the resident chickadees, down and red-bellied woodpeckers, and perhaps even the vagrant Carolina wren, soon find the suet also, and become regulars throughout the 2014-15 feeding season.


*Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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