Northern Cardinal at a feeder in winter © Charlie Zap

What to Look For – February 2020

Most, if not all, of the beautiful migrant species that breed in Massachusetts—including Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, and the colorful array of wood warblers—left a while ago. But if you look out at the birds (and squirrels) visiting the sanctuary’s feeders this month, you’ll notice the presence of several “new” faces among the familiar resident species.

No, these migrants are not misplaced or confused. They spend their winters here to escape the harsher weather found in their Canadian and Arctic breeding grounds.

And February is a great time to get out and enjoy these visiting birds from the North!

Fox Sparrow © Alberto Parker
Fox Sparrow © Alberto Parker

American Tree Sparrows and Fox Sparrows routinely show up at Stony Brook during the winter months to feed on the calorie-rich seeds we provide in the feeders. Occasionally, we’re also treated to the sights and sounds of Pine Siskins, crossbills, and redpolls vying for their turn at the buffet.

Look for these winter migrants among the American Goldfinches, Black-capped Chickadees, and Northern Cardinals that frequent the sanctuary’s feeding stations year-round.

Take a trip farther afield this month and you may be rewarded with sightings of a Snowy Owl, Bald Eagle, or Rough-legged Hawk (depending on where you go). Or head to the shoreline, where you’ll be able to view flocks of wintering sea ducks and their kin collected together on the open waters.

Happy winter, everyone!

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