Backyard Birds – Making the Most of Isolation

Backyard Birds – Making the Most of Isolation

Hugh Kingery received many reports on Spring migrants. It seems that people are taking advantage of having to socially isolate by getting outdoors and spotting the beautiful birds.

Bullock's Oriole

“I had a Bullock’s Oriole at my feeder in the middle of Denver – exciting to see!

I’m really enjoying bird watching during the pandemic,” Cheryl Saipe noted in her Birdathon donation. Thanks Cheryl!

Townsend's Solitaire

From far away (Point Townsend, WA), Steve Grace saw a Townsend’s Solitaire and declared it “the official bird of the pandemic.” By now Colorado’s solitaires have left metro Denver and headed for the high country to breed.

Lazuli Bunting

In Wheat Ridge, Char & Tom Gottlieb on May 8 “saw a pair of Lazuli Buntings right outside our kitchen window!!  A first for our yard, and maybe a first for us, though I do remember seeing some small blue bird on a walk in Castlewood Canyon several years ago. And several days ago, we had a Bullock’s Oriole at our feeders. When we first moved here in 1972 we had them nesting in the cottonwood trees over the road. But it has been many years since I’ve seen them here. Also a few Chipping Sparrows this week and some White Crowned Sparrows. ‘Our’ Wood Ducks are still around and I think they are nesting someplace but can’t find them. The Mallards have already hatched 7 little ones.”

In City Park, a mile from his home, Patrick O’Driscoll on April 30, spotted a collection of unusual visitors. “First record of a Northern Mockingbird in 72 years. According to eBird, the species was last seen in the park by young Hugh Kingery on May 15, 1948, the third oldest eBird record until now for any of the 174 species seen in the park since the 1940s. This one briefly paused on the park road west of Duck Lake, tail pointing skyward, then flew to a small tree before disappearing over the fence into the Denver Zoo.

“Also, 2 Green-tailed Towhees, one of them hanging with 2 White-crowned Sparrows along that same zoo fence line; Spotted Towhee, 3 Vesper Sparrows, and a pair of Swainson’s Hawks, perched in trees at the north and south ends of the big lawn south of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
“I also saw my first Great Horned Owl in nearly 200 visits to City Park. It perched in a spruce tree near the 21st Avenue gate, mobbed by Black-billed Magpies and Blue Jays, with robins, flickers, finches, and doves watching the action.

“Finally, the park’s first Double-crested Cormorant chicks of 2020 (9 in 3nests) have hatched and are begging to be fed at the Duck Lake rookery, with more than 550 adults and 260 nests.”

Your contributions write this column. Thanks to all who send in these intriguing reports. Send a note or post card to P.O. Box 584, Franktown 80116, or Email Hugh Kingery at