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A Year of Birds: November

The days are getting shorter and much colder. Today, on the third, it snowed! I have started feeding the birds again, on the ground (I don’t dare fill the feeder, or the bears will get it; they have not gone into hibernation yet).

Photo of first snow in north Michigan
The first snow in fall is a warning that winter is coming – and is also beautiful in the morning sun

The juncos were the first to find the seed I put out, and began flocking together to have a meal.

Junco on the ground
The snow melted quickly – and the juncos were hungry

Soon enough, the blue jays came, and have chased away the smaller birds. It’s funny to watch the chipmunk that lives in the yard (I have named him “Chippie”) jostle with the jays for the seed.

Photo of a chipmunk on ground in North Michigan fall
“Chippie” gets along well with the birds

As the month progresses, the frost has started, and often a sprinkling of snow on the ground. Each day, the ground looks a bit whiter, as snow mixes with the leaves. I am now putting some seed out in the bird feeder, and the chickadees are starting to visit. They have no fear; I can stand very close to them and they will continue eating.

chickadee at the feeder
This chickadee is checking me out as I stand next to him

This year’s crop of baby mergansers are quite large and adult-looking now. They can be seen out on the bay each day, and on occasion come near to the shore to feed.

Mergansers on Lake Huron in the early morning
The fishing is good near the shore in spite of the cold weather

The other day, I saw a hawk up in a tree and managed to get a photo of him. The now- bare trees make good “lookout spots” for these raptors.

Photo of a hawk in a bare tree
This leafless tree makes a good lookout spot

It’s getting close to Thanksgiving, and I saw seven (yes, seven!) swans “a-swimming” out on Lake Huron today. There were several adults, and also some of this year’s “babies” that are getting quite large, even though they are still in their greyish protective coloring. In the photo, I only caught six, because one was off to the side a bit.

Photo of swans swimming on Lake Huron
The swans sometimes swim quite close to shore

Soon, the lake will freeze; in the bay, some of the marshes are starting to. The days are getting colder. As November draws to a close, I know that winter will be here soon – and so do the birds.

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