The Wonderful World of Winter Woodpeckers

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The feeder frenzy of November is about to begin. Shortly after the crimson and gold colors of autumn disappear, and the first snowflakes swirl about beneath a panoramic sky of gray, an ever-changing menagerie of Eastern Bluebirds, Blue Jays, House Finches, Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, Cardinals and Black-capped Chickadees will appear at feeders, almost as if by magic. Hang some suet and add extra sunflower seeds to the mix and the woodpeckers of winter may quickly join the feast. The one-ounce Downy Woodpecker, North America’s smallest woodpecker, and our red-crested forest giant, the Pileated Woodpecker, the largest woodpecker of North America, are among the mix of local species that frequent the feeders on the wilder side of Oakland County. Continue reading

Barred Owls: Songsters of the Swamps

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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The swamps and wetlands of Oakland County fell silent after heavy frost laced the landscape. Green frogs and bullfrogs are now lying on top of the muddy bottoms of shallow wetlands. No more ker-plunks of turtles attempting to discreetly slide off sunning logs. Except for the occasional warning crack of the tail of a beaver slamming forcefully against water, there are few surprise noises to be heard near the near magical world of the bog and the swamp. There is however one notable exception: the melodious and rich baritone hooting of our beautiful Barred Owls, an owl that some refer to as the “swamp owl”Barred Owls (Strix varia) are breaking the silence of the swamps. Continue reading