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Exploring Nature: Winter Birds

An American goldfinch. The collective noun for a group of finches is a charm. Graphic from Metro Creative

Exploring Nature: Winter Birds

Exploring Nature: Winter Birds

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Well darn. My hummingbird has gone.

The little blackchinned rascal showed up in early March and has been sipping sugar water at my feeder ever since. Now he has departed for points south.

No more filling the nectar bottle, no more seeing another hummer show up to buzz around in combat over the feeder.

I’ll miss the little fellow. I’m told hummingbirds stay year-round in some parts of Texas. But evidently, not at my place.

So now what? Well, I’ll have to admit I am looking forward to some interesting winter visitors. In addition to sunflower seeds and a suet block, I’m now hanging a sock with thistle seeds in hopes of attracting finches.

In the past, I’ve been lucky to have both lesser and American goldfinches in the winter. A large flock of American robins once paid me a visit. So all is not lost.

I take comfort in knowing many Texas birds are with us yearround and expect my resident Carolina chickadees and tufted titmice to be with me all winter. Blue jays, house sparrows, northern cardinals and Carolina wrens will also be around.

If I’m lucky, I’ll have an abundance of finches this winter — not only goldfinches, but also house finches, Cassin’s finches and pine siskins. After all, there are 24 species of finches worldwide so no telling what might show up.

I’m told there is a Lawrence’s goldfinch in Texas and although it is rare in central Texas, it is often seen around Van Horn and the Franklin Mountain State Park. I’d love to see one.

By the way, a group of finches is called a “charm.” That seems entirely fitting for a lovely species that has often been kept caged because of its musical voice and bright, cheery colors.

As we transition from fall to winter, I hope to see lots of new and exciting birds.

But I’ll still miss my little hummingbird.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666