Bird Sightings for January 2024

Jan. 25 – It’s a first for me to see a Merlin up close. He left without dinner. Our backyard – Jan Wilson

Jan. 23 – Raptor Survey, South. I drove the south route today.  The weather was nice and the roads were pretty dry with a few spots of snow/ice that were almost always in shade.  I only saw 11 roughies today, but there were 5 Golden Eagles including the pair flying together (attached).  There was another pair sitting together in a tree.  4 Red-tailed Hawks outnumbered the single Northern Harrier.  Each Red-tail was distinctly different.  The one attached was a beautiful white underneath with a barely visible belly band.  12 total Bald Eagles still seems a little slim.  A single Prairie Falcon gave me a better show than the one we saw Saturday. Next trip – probably Thursday. – Beth Hill

Jan. 21 – Took a short walk near Giant Springs  and a drive East along the Missouri River for a couple miles. saw the cygnet trumpeters, several bald eagles, some soaring and a few feeding on fish on the ice, coots, Canada geese, a sharp-shinned hawk, goldeneyes, and were trying to ID a duck when Beth came along, glassed it, and said it was a decoy! there were finches and juncos and chickadees and sparrows at the feeder at Giant Springs and a flock of meadowlarks at the overlook at crooked falls! also saw several dead Canada geese here and there on or in the ice – Bev Axelsen 

Jan. 20 – Birding on old Hwy 91. I started at the Ulm bridge and saw a Bald Eagle in a cottonwood overlooking the river. Headed back towards Ulm and spotted 5 Pine Grossbeaks in residential tree. Next, I headed towards Cascade on old Hwy 91 and saw: a Baldie on a nest, 2 Rough-legged hawks, a Kestrel on a phone line, a Red-tail sitting on the railroad tracks. I stopped to photo him and he flew off down the track and landed again. Must have been good food opportunities there! – Jan Wilson

Jan 20 – Raptor Survey Full Trip Report Sun River-Simms. The day was mostly cloudy.  The temperatures warmed overnight from a steady zero at midnight to 30 at sunrise. Temperatures today ranged from 33-45 degrees.  The roads started with a mix of snow, ice and dry pavement changing to slush on gravel roads and mostly dry pavement.  Winds were SW 10-15 mph.

We saw 6 Rough-legged Hawks on the short drive (5 miles) along Vaughn Frontage Rd before we were even at Vaughn and HWY 89.  Rough-legged Hawks certainly were abundant for the first time this winter.  What was more surprising was the huge number of Mallards in a grain field just north of the Sun River and in a spring fed creek.  Multiple thousands.  We saw large numbers take off several times when a raptor flew over the group.  It appeared they were feeding on rows of grain left behind.  There were geese as well, but they were far outnumbered by the mallards.  The Ferruginous Hawk and Western Meadowlark were two highlight birds. https://ebird.org/tripreport/196426  – Beth Hill

Jan. 20 – We had a couple nice surprise birds today, including this meadowlark.  A ferruginous hawk was another highlight, besides the 40 some odd “roughies” that we saw on today’s winter raptor survey route. – Beth Hill

Jan. 20 – my photog friend was at Giant Springs today as well as out here where he watched the Golden Eagles (that Jan Wilson also photographed today). Dave saw two swans out on the river near the trestle past Giant Springs. and 17 bald eagles feeding on fish. there was a cormorant on the edge of the river on the ice. I did not leave the house today so have to live vicariously via y’all that did brave the melting snow and mud! lots of pheasants out here along with the usual birds at the feeders. – Bev Axelsen

Jan. 20 – Golden Eagles at Gibson Flats. A pair of golden eagles were perched on the rock ridge that overlooks Gibson Flats. there’s a nest nearby that they’ve been using for the past few years. good to see them in the area again. – Jan Wilson

Jan 19 – the eagles are feeding on a new carcass along the county road east of us northern flickers are checking out the thistle, sunflower, and suet feeders with the little birds – Bev Axelsen 

Jan. 18 – Have three bald eagles out in the cottonwood and a golden eagle at first I thought it was an immature bald, but it is much larger than the baldies lots of pheasants around – Bev Axelsen 

Jan. 18 – We have about 20 GC Rosy Finches at the feeders this morning.  We have had 6 for the entire cold snap but a bunch more showed up today. – Kitty and Kris

Jan 17 – I had a immature gray crown rosey finch hanging out under my thistle feeder this morning. First one for me. – Wendy Kamm

Jan 17 –  I had a immature gray crown rosey finch hanging out under my thistle feeder this morning. First one for me. – Wendy Kamm

Jan 16 – had to go take a look at Gt Springs today to see what it looks like at -25 or so. Lots of frosty geese & mallards.  Feeder was still pretty full and I was surprised there were just a few finches, a flicker, and a chickadee or two around it.  I thought it would be swarmed. Needless to say, I didn’t stay long.  Stay warm….   – Steve Leathe

Jan 12 – Mealworms are popular. With mealworms in hand I stepped outside and presented my hand with the mealworms and an in a matter of a couple seconds had both a mountain and a black capped chickadee eat out of my hand. This is the first time I’ve done this this winter. It can work with sunflower seeds as well but generally not quite so quickly. – Richard Mousel 

Jan 11 – Our Feeders. There has been 3 Downy Woodpeckers at our feeders today, unfortunately a male is extremely greedy, we also have been getting a Flicker coming to the suet, the other day it was feeding for 45 minutes, it feeds on the suet feeder I attached to the top of our hopper feeder. The Chickadees both Mountain and Black-capped love the meal worms I put out multiple times a day. Unfortunately I haven’t seen the White-breasted Nuthatch in a couple of weeks, have a couple of Red-breasted though. A few hours later: I now have a guest looking for a hot dinner. A Sharpie. – Rich Mousel

Jan 11 – Acciptiter Identification. Here is a blog that may help you out – https://hawkwatch.org/how-to-tell-accipiters-apart/ – Beth Hill

Jan 10 – River Freezing. I made a few stops to check out river conditions while out doing weekly shopping before it gets sub-zero.  The co-op section of river had a lot of “ice cubes” but still hundreds of goldeneye and mallards.  The river between Central Ave and 9th St bridges was 99% ice filled.  I could see a few mallards at the water treatment outlet. I went an extra few miles to check on the Giant Springs bird feeder (yes, it was empty).  I filled it with the rest of a 25 pound bag and put in 2 new suet blocks.  I noticed that safflower can fall through the bottom hardware wire.  Not much, but it did come out.  It will get eaten.  There were over 1000 mallards in the area of the spring.  Several hundred geese and a handful of goldeneye and buffleheads.  There was a fair amount of ice flowing in the river here as well.  (I didn’t go down to the dam). It doesn’t take long for a feeze-up to develop. – Beth Hill

Jan 8 – Snow Geese. Saw 200 to 250 Snow Geese flying south over our place about 10AM. – Kitty and Kris

Whoa – that’s a large number for this time of year. – Beth Hill

WOW  we have about 300 Canada geese in the adjacent wheat field and I thought that was a fantastic sight!  Hope they don’t pull up the green wheat. – Bev Axelsen

Jan 8 – We have 6 Gray Crowned Rosy-finches at the feeder this morning. – Kitty and Kris

Jan 3 – FOY Meadowlark this morning about1/8 mile north of the T intersection of 10 Mile and River Road. – Kitty Knapus

Jan 3 – I had the female red crossbill at my feeder again 2 days ago. I got a really close look at it, and there is no mistaking that beak. I saw it about a month before that, but nothing until Monday.  I don’t know what it is doing in a prairie river town. – Wendy Kamm