Fall migration is here — watch for geese!

Nature Lovers Corner

Fall migration is here — watch for geese!By DAN BURNETT

It is the time to see some familiar birds in your back yard that you haven’t seen in months. This should alert you that winter is approaching. Many birds that winter in our area leave for the summer. Some travel as far north as the Arctic Circle. Some just head for the mountains. You might enjoy taking some time to look and see who is returning to your back yard.

The first white-crowned sparrows came to town on about Sept. 20. These are the little birds with the bright white stripe on the top of their heads and over their eyes (females and young have brown stripes). At about the same time, Cooper’s hawks returned from the mountains.

Turkey vultures have been passing through the valley for some time now heading south to Mexico. These birds migrate during the day when they can take advantage of the lift provided by the hot air rising from the desert. They will roost for the night in tall trees. After things warm up in the morning, they effortlessly rise into the air in swirling flocks called “kettles.” Several thousand of these birds pass through the Indian Wells valley each fall.

Here are some of the migrants and wintering birds you might keep a look out for: northern flicker (late September), yellow-rumped warbler (late September), American robin (there may be a few here most of the year but many more will return starting in early November), spotted towhee (late September), snow goose (mid October) and dark-eyed junco (early October).

If you would like to see pictures and hear the songs of these and other birds, visit the Cornell University website “All About Birds” (www.allaboutbirds.org/).

Story First Published: 2018-10-26