Statewide Birding Report - February 15, 2019

Snowfall was the story of the week and brought good numbers of birds to many feeders. Large numbers of cardinals were reported, including as many as 45 at a Dodge County feeder, as well as a few pine siskins and common redpolls among other regular species. This should make for an interesting Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend. Running from February 15-18, this fun and easy event provides scientists a late-winter snapshot of bird populations worldwide. Anyone can contribute by birding for at least 15 minutes in your backyard or beyond and submitting what you see at (exit DNR). The increased snow cover should spell good news for ruffed grouse as they find good powder now in which to burrow and roost. On the down side, several ice storms provided challenges for diving ducks in some locations, especially Douglas County where some common goldeneyes pushed off a now-frozen western Lake Superior mistook icy roads for water bodies.

Despite the winter weather, longer day length has initiated some breeding activity for our earliest nesting species. Singing activity is ramping up for northern cardinals, black-capped chickadees, house finches, and dark-eyed juncos. Common goldeneyes are very actively performing head-bobbing courtship displays, and pairs of red-tailed hawks are common, some even beginning to bring sticks to old and new nest sites. The same is true for bald eagles, while great horned owls take the prize again as some or even many pairs across the southern half of the state are already incubating eggs!


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