Nature Notes

Vol. VI December, 19228 Winter Season No. 9


Winter Birds

sketch of varied thrush

Winter would be a drab sort of affair, even in its dazzeling beauty, were it no for the presence of our winter birds. Late in the fall the Varied Thrush is quite in evidence about Longmire. He is a handsome bird, about the size of a Robin and his characteristic markings -- a bright orange-yellow breast, a stripe of the same color above his eye and a black breast band -- make it easy to identify him. Port and saucy is the Western Winter Wren, smallest of our winter birds and this little brownish fellow seems rather out of place among the huge trees of the forest where he lives.

Another midget is the Sierra Creeper, a small mottled brown and grey bird. We often see him clinging to the tree trunks examining them for insects which he extracts with his slender curved beak. The Shufeldt Junco with his jet black head and breast, grey back and white underparts is a real winter bird. We often see these friendly fellows who always seem so plump as though they just had a square meal, begging for more about the homes at Longmire.

sketch of western winter wren and
Shufeldt junco

sketch of stellar jay

And speaking of handouts, a Camp Robber flew to my window recently and boldly tried to steal a piece of toast that lay within. They fact that the window pane obstructed his progress didn't deter him a particle for he tried several times before he became discouraged and flew away. The Camp Robber's cousin, the Stellar Jay, is always quite in evidence in the Park and his noisy call is bedlam when he gets it going. There are many others - the Chickadee (on the cover) with his sharp, penetrating call, "dee dee dee" that breaks the forest stillness, is also readily recognized along the winter trail.

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