By Mary Ratcliff, OLWC Board Member
Ruby-crowned Kinglet on a branch. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
In Lake Oswego, observing birds in winter can be fun as we have an amazing variety of birds that come to winter. In addition to our beloved residents, we have a number of birds that move into our area for shelter and sustenance. Keeping a well-stocked feeder along with some open clean water is a way to attract some colorful and delightful visitors to your yard. Who might you see coming to your yard or soaring overhead during this time of year?
American Robins are local residents, but the robins you see in winter are not the same as those that nest in our areas. These robins are the original “snowbirds” as they have flown from their breeding grounds further north to spend a more clement winter here. During the winter you can see flocks of a hundred or more robins feeding in parks.
A Splash of Color
Some of the more colorful birds in our region find their way to our backyards during the winter. You might find a bright Townsend’s Warbler flitting into a suet feeder. Or you might find a lovely orange and dark blue-gray Varied Thrush scratching leaf duff under the shrubs. Winter is also when the small Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Golden-crowned Kinglets can be seen gleaning on the leaves and branches of shrubs and fir trees. Another snowbird that arrives for winter is the attractive Golden-crowned Sparrow which you can also identify when hearing its mournful song: “oh poor me!”
And who can forget the sight of a majestic Bald Eagle sitting at the top of a tall fir or soaring over the lake? Winter is when eagles select their nesting spots and are most obvious in our community. They find plenty of food in our area as the Cackling Geese (the Canada Goose’s smaller relative) are here in huge numbers after flying in from Alaska and Canada to feed in our lawns and open grasslands. You can see good numbers circling the golf course.