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.
On a four-mile drive this morning, through Wayzata and barely into eastern Minnetonka I saw and heard thousands of American Robins. They must have arrived overnight, stalled here because of the weather. They're driven on migration by an internal clock that has nothing to do with our discouraging rain and snow.
I heard robins when I went for the paper. I saw robins if I looked up and down the street. Robins flew overhead. Flocks of 50 to 60 birds spotted my drive east through Wayzata.. When I to the Carlson Towers along Carlson Parkway, just west of Ridgedale shopping center, there were thousands of robins. Carlson Parkway and the entrance drive to the towers are lined with ornamental crab apple trees. This is the attraction. Robins will be living on leftover fruit until the snow goes and the ground softens. There were birds in the trees, on the snow, in the road, in the air.
The weather Saturday and Sunday concentrated Dark-eyed Juncos and various sparrows. Our yard held easily more than 100 birds throughout those days. They were eating sunflower seeds and chips. Most of the seasonal arrivals were juncos. Sparrow species were Fox, Tree, and Song; they came for the sunflower chips.
Our pond attracted a pair of Hooded Mergansers and, at high count, 13 Wood Ducks.
The birding right now is pretty good. Other migrants can be found if you're looking. Avid observers are reporting day lists of over 70 species. A couple dozen of those are waterfowl.
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