Often seen sitting on telephone wires, sign posts or hovering over open fields, the American kestrel is North America’s smallest falcon. Its numbers can nearly double during the winter months as birds from the far north move to the relatively warmer climate of Ohio.
Named for the orange-yellow head stripe on the males, the golden-crowned kinglet is scarcely larger than a hummingbird. Found in Ohio only during the winter months, their tsee-tsee-tsee contact calls can be heard in the treetops as flocks move through the woodlands.
Bald Eagles mate for life.
Mixed flocks of chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and woodpeckers are often seen moving through our woodlots in winter. With more eyes and ears alert for danger, birds in these flocks are much less likely for fall victim to predators.
The corn and soybean stubble of cropland has the appearance of a desolate wasteland in winter. But two birds, the horned lark and the far less abundant Lapland longspur, can make a living there. When snow blankets the fields, they are often seen foraging along roadsides.
While considered agricultural pests, the giant and yellow foxtail grasses are a windfall to birds in winter. Often seen along roadsides and bordering cropland, the foxtails produce large seeds in copious amounts. They are an important winter food for many different bird species.
Its name something of a misnomer, the tree sparrow shuns the woodlands. One of our more abundant winter birds, it breeds in the high arctic of Canada and Alaska. Their cheerful contact calls are frequently heard as flocks forage in the open shrubby habitats they prefer.
The North American Belted Kingfisher nests in a horizontal tunnel made in a river bank or sand bank. The tunnel often slopes uphill, perhaps to allow the chicks to survive in case of a flood.
Many birds migrating from southern wintering grounds stop by Crawford County as a temporary way station or as a summer home.
For the first 10 weeks, Wild Turkey hatchlings, known as poults, eat almost exclusively insects to provide lots of protein for their fast-growing bodies.
The wild turkey is native to Ohio and can be seen in Crawford County. Ohio's turkey population is now estimated to be between 260,000 and 300,000 birds. A game bird once completely eliminated in Ohio due to habitat destruction and unregulated hunting is now abundant once again.
The dark eyed junco is an abundant winter visitor in Crawford County. It is common at backyard feeders. This species is slate-gray in color on its head, breast and back. The slate-gray contrasts sharply with the white belly and outer tail feathers.
Bald Eagle nests are quite large measuring 4-5 feet in diameter and 2-4 feet deep. This huge nest is called an aerie (also spelled eyrie) and is built of sticks. Eagles normally choose a large sturdy tree and continue to add more nest material each breeding year. Late winter or very early spring is a good time to begin watching their nests as the eggs are usually laid during that time.
Great Blue Herons have increased in Crawford County in the last decade. Blue Herons normally nest in groups called rookeries. Nests with eggs have been recorded in central Ohio as early as March 12 but most clutches are not laid until March 25–April 15.
March is a good time to watch for nesting eagles in Crawford County. Call the Nature Center to report your eagle sightings. 419-683-9000.
Native sunflowers are a favorite food of goldfinches. Stop out at Unger Park to see them on top of a sunflower seed head digging out a tasty morsel.
It won't kill the birds if you miss a few days of filling my feeder, birds don’t just depend on one place for food. They normally visit more than one feeder and more than one food source in the wild.