November bird forecast: Plenty to see everywhere
The leaves are falling and the winter birds are arriving. Whether you are at a lake, a hawk watch or just watching your feeders, November is a great time of year to see birds.
Many types of waterfowl are migrating through and some will stay all winter. Species to watch for include bufflehead, gadwall, American wigeon and common loon. The Williamsport dam and Rose Valley Lake are great spots to look for ducks and other water birds.
Yellow-rumped warbler migration has peaked but they will remain in small numbers all winter. Other warbler species have migrated south, with some individuals traveling as far as South America.
One highlight for me this October was observing a high number of blackpoll warblers on my evening walks on the Susquehanna River Walk. This species is known for staying well hidden at the top of trees during spring migration; however, in the fall it is more easily observable.
Chipping sparrows soon will be gone and American tree sparrows will replace them until early April, when the two species switch again. Fox sparrows will migrate through in November and a few may winter locally.
Ruby-crowned kinglets are just passing through, but golden-crowned kinglets will stay for the winter in wooded areas with conifer trees.
American robins are migrating, but large numbers do stay for the winter but are less conspicuous because they are eating berries and seeds rather than pulling worms out of lawns.
Some eastern bluebirds stay all winter as well and will roost in bluebird nest boxes at night.
Golden eagle migration continues through November, especially on days with strong northerly winds. I saw my first golden eagle of the fall on Oct. 15 at Rose Valley Lake.
The Route 15 overlook near South Williamsport continues to be a great local spot to see eagles and other migrating raptors.
Red-tailed hawks, including the heavily marked northern “abieticola” subspecies, continue migrating. Rare hawk species to watch for include northern goshawks and rough-legged hawks. Short-eared owls will return mid-month and can be seen hunting farm fields at dusk and dawn.
Now is a great time to put up a bird feeder. Red-breasted nuthatches have been reported throughout Pennsylvania this fall and will probably remain in elevated numbers throughout the winter.
Purple finches also are being reported. Watch for rare species such as red crossbill and evening grosbeak.
By now, all ruby-throated hummingbirds should have migrated south, but rare western hummingbird species such as the rufous hummingbird are found in small numbers in Pennsylvania every winter. See the homepage of the Lycoming Audubon Society website for information on our winter hummingbird contest, which offers prizes for documenting vagrant hummingbirds.
Leave your hummingbird feeder up and, if you see a hummingbird, try to get a photograph and contact us right away.
There are plenty of birds to see in November, so bundle up and head outside to see what you can find.
Brown is an avid local birder and photographer and is vice president of the Lycoming Audubon Society. He may be reached via email at davidebrownpa @gmail.com.
The Lycoming Audubon Society is a chapter of the National Audubon Society with responsibility for members in Lycoming and Clinton counties. Information about the society and events can be found at http://lycomingaudubon. blogspot.com.
The public is invited to share local sightings and join discussions at https://www.facebook.com/groups/lycomingAudubon.