Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.
In Bob Janssen's 1987 book "Birds of Minnesota" Tufted Titmouse is shown on a range map as a bird limited in Minnesota range to our far southeastern corner. Individuals occasionally were seen in other parts of the state, but the regular sightings of the species in the metro area lessened beginning in the mid 1970s for reasons unknown. The species has significantly expanded its Minnesota range since then, also for reasons unknown, although milder winter weather is most likely a factor. A friend in Watertown told me yesterday of a day-long visit to his feeder by a titmouse. That was a first for him.. Another friend reported a visit by a titmouse to her feeders near Siren, Wisconsin. That's thought to be a first record for Burnett County. The bird is regular in Hastings, in St. Paul Park, and across the river in the Hudson, Wisconsin, area. More metro sightings have been reported this year. This is a cool bird, chickadee in size and behavior, a chickadee with a headdress. The photo below was taken three weeks ago near Hudson. It's a bird to watch for at your feeders.
The invasion south into Minnesota by winter finches continues. Evening and Pine Grosbeaks are being reported almost daily from one state location or another, places where they have rarely been seen in winters past. Bohemian Waxwings are another northern species being seen south and west of its usual winter haunts along the North Shore. The waxwings are being found in Mountain Ash and crab apple trees; they eat the fruit of both. I'm checking a nearby crab apple orchard three or four times a week these days. I've seen trees there with dozens of Cedar Waxwings feeding. I'm waiting for its look-alike cousin, the Bohemian. I'd post a photo if I had one. That blank on my photo list is main reason for my search. We'll be in Aitkin County in a few days. Behemians have been reported in several places there.
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