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Homegrown 0

Backyard Arkansas Birds: Winter Residents

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

With the winter season nearing, here is a guide to the Backyard Birds of Arkansas winter edition! These birds are active in the winter and are likely to be seen flying around during colder months. While our summer residents migrate to warmer climates, these birds stay around in our backyards during the cold season. They fluff up their feathers to keep warm, creating air pockets. They also eat plenty of fat-rich food to generate more heat. What birds do you see in your backyard?

VJAnderson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Brown Creeper

They definitely get their name from their color. A brown creeper is a brown bird with a white breast and throat, and a long rusty-brown tail. They use their coloration to avoid predators and not stand out, usually remaining motionless.

Food: Mostly insects, but will also indulge in suet, sunflower seeds, pine seeds, grass seeds and corn.

Song: High, thin whistles, “see wee see tu wee.” Their call is a high-pitched “tsee.”

Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Although their colors are duller in winter, you can’t miss the noticeable yellow rump patch on the yellow-rumped Warbler. They are brownish-gray above with streaks on their breast and even have some yellow patches on their wings.

Food: Insects and berries

Song: A loose trill with a lower or higher pitch at the end of the song. Their call is a low “cheep.”

Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

This is one of the smallest songbirds in North America. The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a greenish-gray bird with dark wings and white eye rings. Males have a red chest, but it is difficult to see if they are not raised or in flight.

Food: Small insects like beetles, flies, leafhoppers and caterpillars.

Song: Begins with high, clear whistles and picks up speed.

Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

White-throated Sparrow

These birds can be found with two different colorings, “white-striped” and “tan-striped.” White-striped adults have white eyebrows that turn yellow near their bills, with white throats and gray bellies. A tan-striped form has tan eyebrows and a dull breast.

Food: Seeds and insects

Song: Two whistled notes followed by three to four quivering, high-pitched notes in the rhythm of “Oh sweet Canada Canada Canada.”

Krunal Desai – Bird & Wildlife Photographer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

White-crowned Sparrow

Young white-crowned sparrows have tan and gray stripes on their head. Adult white-crowned sparrows have black and white stripes on their head, a gray belly and face, a tan back with streaks and white wing bars.

Food: Seeds of weeds and grasses. Along with wasps, beetles and caterpillars.

Song: Clear whistles, then buzzes and trills on different pitches.

Cephas, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-eyed Junco can be seen from brown to dark gray, while the underside of the tail is white and has a pink bill.

Food: Seeds and insects like spiders, grasshoppers, caterpillars and beetles.

Song: A short trill, with call notes that sound like “zeet” or “zip.”

Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cedar Waxwing

This black-masked bird is yellowish-brown, with grey tails and red-tipped wings.

Food: Berries of red cedar and honeysuckle, along with fruit

Song: Very high-pitched and slurred whistles

Photo courtesy of Arkansas Parks & Tourism

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

You can catch a yellow-bellied sapsucker in your backyard because of their distinct black-and-white striped faces, red cap on the top of their head and a yellowish wash on the belly. Males will have a red throat patch, while females are white.

Food: Insects, sugary tree sap and fruit

Song: calls are a nasal or whiny mewing sound.

Meet the

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Kayleigh Tritschler is fresh out of college with a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations from Harding University. City girl turned small town when she stayed in Searcy, AR after college to begin her career as a Marketing Coordinator at First Security Bank. Kayleigh is a book hoarder and spends some of her free time reading said books or buying new ones to collect dust.

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