Nature

Winter Birds in the Hill Country

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February is truly a great time in the Hill Country. The skies are clear blue. The temperature is just about perfect at a pleasant 75 or so degrees. Now with that said, the groundhog did see his shadow, so we may get a bit more winter. Until then, get outside and be part of the gorgeous winters in the Hill Country and keep your eyes open for the plethora of winter birds that call Texas home this time of year.

Cedar Waxwing

cedar waxwingPhoto: Pixabay

So many species flock to the Hill Country during the winter months, you are sure to find some beauties. One to be on the lookout for right now is the Cedar Waxwing. And let us tell you, it is gorgeous! From its dark marking across it eyes to its silky front pale breast feathers, this bird will capture your eye. But you have to look closely for it. The cedar waxwing blends in beautifully to the upper tree branches where it hangs out with about forty or so of its closest friends. You can find them near red-berried shrubs sharing the fruit with each other. You can read more about this wonderful little bird and more that are mentioned here at the informative website All About Birds.

Purple Martins

 

Photo: Pixabay

Another bird to be on the lookout for are the scouting parties for the purple martins. These large, swallow-sized birds are a joy to watch in the sky. Their aerial dynamics will entertain you for hours. Building a purple martin house in your backyard is like inviting the best neighborhood to entertain you for hours. For free! Now while these “scouts” aren’t searching out the best place to nest. These early arrivals are usually older birds that are returning to their old stomping grounds.

Native Americans used to put up hollowed out gourds to attract these insect eaters. Nowadays, you can find purple martins in man-made houses as well as natural cavities. By late summer, when the babies have learned the tricks of aerial dynamics, purple martins will converge in certain areas by the thousand. Sometimes there are so many martins, that they can be picked up by local weather radar. Surely a sight to see come late summer.

Robins and Cardinals

cardinalPhoto: Pixabay

Another popular bird to be on the look out for, of course, is the American Robin. They are the ones that everyone knows and loves as a sure sign of spring to come. One last one to keep a keen eye out for is the beloved Northern Red Cardinal. This bird, probably singlehandedly, has encouraged my people to get out and do some bird watching than any other. The amazing red color seen on the male is immediately recognizable and indistinguishable from any other bird. Cardinals are year-round here in the Hill Country, so you are sure to see one any time of year.

So, grab your binoculars, maybe a sweater or coat, too if the wind changes, and get out there and see some of the amazing birds of Texas winters.