Birdwatching in Autumn

Blue jay

With warblers and raptors already well on their way south, it may seem like birdwatching has passed its peak. But there are still lots of birds to observe on MHLC trails this fall!

Among my favorites is the blue jay. This common bird is currently collecting winter feed, caching 3,000 – 5,000 acorns, seeds, and nuts to help them through the upcoming harsh months. Their ability to recall the locations where they stored their food months later places them high on the list of intelligent birds.

Ruby-crowned kinglet

Another favorite is one of North America’s smallest but hardiest birds, the ruby-crowned kinglet. This bird frequents the Work Creek Falls Preserve, among others, and can be found if you remain silent and watch the tree edges. The ruby-crowned kinglet is drab green/gray, but if you listen closely, its atonal call mixed with a cheery song makes it easy to distinguish. These tiny birds don’t migrate but stay all winter feeding on tiny insects off the bark of trees. They spend cold nights cuddled together on evergreen branches to stay warm and are equipped with one of Mother Nature’s best down coats – thick feathers that help keep them warm in extreme cold.

I hope you discover some of these winter friends while out on the trail and in your backyard. To learn more about these bird species and listen to the ruby-crowned kinglet call, please visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website.   




Sarah Walsh
Conservation Director

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