Backyard Birds – Fall 2022 Report

Backyard Birds - Fall 2022 Report

This look back at fall backyard birds includes Cattle Egrets, Sandhill Cranes, and a non-bird anomaly. Read on for all the details!

Bill Kunz reports on the late-summer birds at Majestic View Nature Center in Arvada. Half a dozen “Cattle Egrets roost at the very top of one of our very tall blue spruce trees with the continental divide as a backdrop, making for a unique sight of tropical looking birds. A very large flock of Cliff, Barn, and Rough-swallows fly together and roost on the power lines to the Center.” The Center hosted “lots of Broad tailed, Rufous and Calliope hummers and loads of Turkey Vultures. Also Red-breasted Nuthatch, Townsend’s Solitaire, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.”

Monica Rabino sent a note about an unusual city visitor. “I live in the Belmar area and wanted to report that we have a Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay that has come by our home Aug.31-Sept 2. This bird has been alone. The bird does not seem injured.”

Woodhouse's Scrub Jay standing on the ground
Woodhouse's Scrub Jay | Monica Rabino
Broad-tailed Hummingbird in flight
Broad-tailed Hummingbird | Robert Martinez

Late hummingbirds include one on Green Mountain on Oct. 7 seen by Amy Law, ones visiting Karen Metz in Franktown as well as us—partaking more of Urling’s Salvia than the feeder.

Cindy Kristensen “saw and heard a pair of Western Bluebirds in Castle Pines Village Oct. 6—quite a surprise.” Audubon’s Kevin Corwin, our state bluebird trail coordinator, says that in 2022 both Western and Mountain Bluebirds had a lousy season throughout Colorado because of the late May snowstorm.

In October, observers started to see Sandhill Cranes headed south.

Sheri Dollin in Franktown, Oct. 7, emailed, “Last night one large V flew south overhead. What a great sound to hear them this year!” And on Oct. 8, Barbara Spagnuolo reported, “I’m out at Gateway Mesa working on the new trail and was just entertained by a large loud flock of 50-60 cranes circling a few times overhead then they finally turned south.”

At our Franktown home Oct. 9, we hosted The Big Sit!, where we observe all birds we can see or hear as long as we stay in a 17-foot diameter circle. Our prize: a flock of 38 American White Pelicans first spotted by Karen Metz. They flew slowly southward until picking up a wind tunnel after which they quickly disappeared. Robert Martinez counted 63 Robins. One Orange-crowned Warbler flitted through the scrub oak, and we had Corvid Central: Steller’s, Blue, and Scrub Jays, crows and ravens. We ended up with 34 species, better than last year’s 25.

American Robin standing on a water feature
American Robin | Robert Martinez
View of pond full of bullfrogs
Bullfrogs in pond | Hugh Kingery

Finally, we have a non-bird anomaly to report: the small pond along our road has had 1000’s—yes thousands—of Bullfrogs since mid-summer. We wonder how they (and how many) will survive the winter. We don’t hear them calling. As non-natives, they can become a nuisance or a menace.

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