Bird list and other natural events, November 2011

The quiet of winter begins to descend on the farm through November. In the final week, we only observed 19 different bird species, mostly those that will be with us throughout the winter. I’ll likely be making very few changes to the list below for December. The coyotes continue to be quite active, with one neighbor saying it’s the most populous coyote year they can remember in 30+ years here. I suspect that plays a role in:

Hunting season was a bust for me this year. I saw nothing for the first week, then on day 8 saw three in two different locations, but all moving fast and screened by brush. Since then we’ve been too busy with farm work, Thanksgiving, pig slaughter, and more to justify any more hunting time. A friend hunting here did take a button buck, which made us all happy.  We kept the hide, tongue, and liver, all of which we use but he didn’t. We’re not alone in missing a deer this year; the Kansas City Star reports that deer harvest in Missouri has been declining for several years now, with this year’s harvest down 45,000 animals from five years ago. We’ve certainly seen plenty throughout the year, but the short legal hunting season doesn’t always correlate with the best time for a farm like ours to actually hunt deer, so it didn’t work out this time. That’s life, and the 200+ lb of pork we butchered last week will make up for it.

The rainfall tap finally reopened, giving us a welcome 4.43″ over the month, the most we’ve recorded since May (October totalled 0.60″). It’s too little too late for most crops, but still beneficial to our pastures and wildlife. Overall November was a quite pleasant month, with stable weather gently cooling off into winter, and no major storms or disruptions. I love this form of Missouri autumn, the long tranquil arrival of winter that makes us deeply happy to be able to work outdoors.

NEW IN NOVEMBER (2 species, some observed earlier this year but not in October)
Bald Eagle
Great Horned Owl

PRESENT IN NOVEMBER (26 species)
Canada Goose
Snow Goose (in migration over farm)
Turkey Vulture (a rare late one on 11/15; they winter south of here)
Red-Tailed Hawk
Red-Shouldered Hawk
Barred Owl
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tufted Titmouse
Black-Capped Chickadee
White-Breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Golden-Crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Northern Cardinal
White-Throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-Eyed Junco
American Goldfinch

MISSING/UNOBSERVED SINCE OCTOBER (16 species)
Wood Duck 
Great Blue Heron
Sharp-Shinned Hawk (likely ID but not certain)
Cooper’s Hawk (likely ID but not certain)
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 
Catbird
Blue-Headed Vireo
Common Grackle
Finch, either Purple or House (couldn’t ID for certain)
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Towhee
Summer Tanager
Black-Throated Green Warbler
Nashville Warbler

2 thoughts on “Bird list and other natural events, November 2011

  1. No deer, huh? You shoulda known that would happen when you shot all the really dumb ones last year and the year before 😉

  2. Yeah, maybe we should have let the really dumb one from 2009 keep breeding. Along the same lines, one of the problems with a short established hunting season is that the survivors of the opening day/weekend onslaught get far cagier and paranoid, and the success rate goes way down. One way to get around this is learning to bowhunt, which has a far longer season, but also requires expensive equipment and a lot of practice/training which I can't afford to spend time on. Such is modern life, no venison is not the end of the world.