Whether we see many birds and which species we see depends very much on the weather this time of year. Northern waterfowl start showing up … if temperatures don’t drop too low and local lakes don’t freeze over. These northern waterfowl migrants can include Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers, Lesser and Greater Scaup, and Ring-necked Ducks. Among their numbers also may be less common migrants, such as Black, Surf or White-winged Scoters or Long-tailed Ducks.
It also is that time of year when it is not uncommon to see Trumpeter Swans flock to nearby bodies of water, such as Carter Lake near the Omaha Airport. Lucky birders may even observe a couple of Tundra Swans in the mix.
Other northern breeding birds that may drop by include the many sparrow species such as Harris’s, White-throated, White-crowned, Fox, Leconte’s, Nelson’s, American Tree and Dark-eyed Juncos. A number of these will show up at backyard bird feeders. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers may also make an appearance.
What makes the season so special is that we normally don’t see many of these birds in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa in warm weather. Resident species, such as the Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch and Downy Woodpecker, all will come to bird feeders to eat year-round.