Bird Roll Call: March 21, 2018

  • American goldfinch
  • American robin
  • Black-capped chickadee (heard)
  • Blue jay
  • Common grackle
  • Cooper’s hawk (juvenile)
  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Downy woodpecker
  • European starling
  • House finch
  • House sparrow
  • Mourning dove
  • Northern cardinal
  • Northern flicker (heard)
  • Pine siskin
  • Red-bellied woodpecker
  • Turkey vulture (overhead)
  • White-throated sparrow

A turkey vulture flew over the house again today. In the afternoon, I was inside the house when I heard a loud window strike. I ran to the window and looked out, expecting to see a dead bird on the ground. Instead, I saw the juvenile Cooper’s hawk on top of a mourning dove, its wings spread wide. My guess is that the hawk was pursuing the mourning dove and the latter flew into the window (and died on impact) in a panicked attempt at escape.

Starlings pecked their way through one of our eaves today and started building a nest in the attic. I could hear the commotion from my office window.

Location — in my backyard.

Bird Roll Call: March 20, 2018

  • American goldfinch
  • American robin
  • Blue jay
  • Black-capped chickadee
  • Brown creeper
  • Common grackle
  • Cooper’s hawk
  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Downy woodpecker
  • European starling
  • House finch
  • House sparrow
  • Mourning dove
  • Northern cardinal
  • Northern flicker (heard)
  • Pine siskin
  • Red-bellied woodpecker
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Turkey vulture (overhead)**
  • White-throated sparrow

I saw a turkey vulture flying high above the house today, a first for me since I’ve been paying attention to birds. On the other end of the size spectrum, I saw a brown creeper on one of the sweetgum trees, my third sighting of this species in my yard.

Location — in my backyard. A double asterisk indicates first sighting in my yard.

Bird Roll Call: March 19, 2018

  • American goldfinch
  • American robin
  • Blue jay
  • Common grackle
  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Downy woodpecker
  • European starling
  • House finch
  • House sparrow
  • Mourning dove
  • Northern cardinal
  • Pine siskin
  • Red-bellied woodpecker
  • White-throated sparrow

It was a raining this morning, and I had things to do that didn’t involve observing birds. Still, I saw a few. It was fun watching them come out to eat and play when the rain stopped. The red-winged blackbird was absent, as was the case yesterday. I assume he’s moved on. I put grass seed down yesterday afternoon, and the birds (mainly the juncos with a little help from the white-throated sparrows) ate it all today. So it is when your yard is full of birds. The bunny who has been munching on the grass at night made a daytime appearance at the back of the yard, where old iris leaves were on the menu.

Location — in my backyard.

Bird Roll Call: March 18, 2018

  • American crow1
  • American goldfinch1
  • American robin1,2
  • Black-capped chickadee1
  • Blue jay1,2
  • Bufflehead (three pairs)2
  • Canada goose2
  • Common grackle1,2
  • Dark-eyed junco1,2
  • Downy woodpecker1,2
  • Eastern bluebird2
  • European starling1,2
  • House finch1
  • House sparrow1
  • Killdeer2
  • Mallard2
  • Mourning dove1,2
  • Northern cardinal1
  • Northern flicker1
  • Pine siskin1
  • Red-bellied woodpecker1
  • White-throated sparrow1
  • Wood duck2

Today, I saw two American robins leaping off a neighbor’s roof over and over again. They would land on the roof, run over to its edge, leap down to the ground, and fly back up to the roof. While all of this was going on, a blue jay was riffling through leaves in the home’s gutter. It was all very enteratining.

I also saw a male northern cardinal feed a safflower seed to a female. He flew over to the fence where she was perched. She responded by hopping away from him. He pursued her and extended his seed-filled beak. She took the seed and held it in her beak until another male flew to the other side of her. She dropped the seed and flew away.

At Meadowbrook Park, we saw a dead mallard lying by the trail. The red-tailed hawk perched in a nearby tree told us all we needed to know. The hawk wasn’t able to return to the duck, at least not while we were there, because it got caught up in what appeared to be an altercation with two other red-tailed hawks.

Locations — in my backyard and at Meadowbrook Park.


1. Seen at home
2. Seen at Meadowbrook Park

Bird Roll Call: March 17, 2018

  • American crow1
  • American goldfinch1
  • American robin1,2,3,4
  • Belted kingfisher (heard)3
  • Black-capped chickadee1,2,3
  • Blue jay1,2
  • Brown creeper1,2
  • Bufflehead (three pairs)4
  • Canada goose1,2,4
  • Carolina wren1
  • Common grackle1,3,4
  • Dark-eyed junco (including both pink-sided** and slate subspecies in yard)1,2,3
  • Downy woodpecker1,2,3
  • Eastern bluebird2
  • Eastern phoebe2
  • European starling1,2,4
  • Fox sparrow1
  • Golden-crowned kinglet**1
  • House finch1
  • House sparrow1
  • Great blue heron3
  • Killdeer (heard)2
  • Mallard2,4
  • Mourning dove1,2,4
  • Northern cardinal1,2,3
  • Northern flicker1,3
  • Pine siskin1
  • Red-bellied woodpecker1,2,3
  • Red-winged blackbird (male)1,3
  • Song sparrow2
  • Tufted titmouse3
  • White-throated sparrow1
  • Wood duck2
  • Yellow-rumped warbler2

I saw my first-ever golden-crowned kinglet in the yard this morning. I also saw two birds in the yard for the second time ever: a brown creeper and a fox sparrow. The blue jays have been coming closer and closer to me as I fill their peanut wreath each morning. Today, one landed on the fence just a few feet away. The bird chattered at me, first in two notes followed by two more notes a half-step lower than the first pair, then — as its impatience grew — in four longer, repeated notes. I responded by calling “peanut, peanut” in a descending half-step, which I’ve started doing whenever I am filling the feeder. Beofore I even began walking away, the jay was slipping a peanut from the wreath. Four more jays followed suit when I was at a safe distance.

It was colder today, which might explain why the pine siskins returned. They stayed all day long. My last sighting of them in the yard was March 7 and, before that, February 19. Among the dark-eyed juncos, I spotted my first pink-sided subspecies among the slate-colored birds who usually visit.

My partner and I saw a leucistic yellow-rumped warbler with a nearly all-white head at Leawood City Park. An eastern phoebe was flying low over the lake at the park hunting for insects. I was able to view the bird for a long time, which will help me identify the species in the future. Eastern bluebirds and yellow-rumped warblers flitted about on the rocky shoulders of the creek.

Locations — in my backyard, at Leawood City Park, at a local creek, and at Meadowbrook Park. A double asterisk indicates first sighting in my yard.


1. Seen at home
2. Seen at Leawood City Park
3. Seen at a local creek
4. Seen at Meadowbrook Park

Bird Roll Call: March 16, 2018

  • American goldfinch
  • American robin
  • Blue jay
  • Carolina wren
  • Common grackle
  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Downy woodpecker
  • European starling
  • House finch
  • House sparrow
  • Mourning dove
  • Northern cardinal
  • Red-bellied woodpecker
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Red-winged blackbird (male)
  • White-throated sparrow

It was a rainy day, and I didn’t spend as much time as usual watching the birds. I did take peanuts out for the blue jays mid-morning. Three jays landed in the nearest tree and began chattering at me, something the sounded like a combination of delighted and demand tones. In the afternoon, the entire neighborhood was flooded with alarm calls from birds. A red-tailed hawk was flying from one house to another in a loose spiral. All day long, the male red-winged blackbird sang his song and its variations. I kept the window cracked so I could hear him.

Location — in my backyard.

Bird Roll Call: March 15, 2018

  • American crow2
  • American goldfinch1
  • American robin1,2,3,4
  • Black-capped chickadee1,2
  • Blue jay1,2,3
  • Bufflehead (three pairs)3
  • Canada goose1,2,3,4
  • Carolina wren1
  • Common grackle1,2,3
  • Cooper’s / sharp-shinned hawk (overhead)1
  • Dark-eyed junco1,2,3,4
  • Downy woodpecker1,4
  • Eastern bluebird3
  • Eastern phoebe*2,4
  • European starling1,2,3,4
  • Gull sp. (overhead)1
  • Harris’s sparrow (immature)**1
  • House finch1
  • House sparrow1,2
  • Great blue heron2,4
  • Killdeer2
  • Mallard2,3,4
  • Mourning dove1,2,3,4
  • Northern cardinal1,2,4
  • Northern flicker1
  • Red-bellied woodpecker1,2
  • Red-tailed hawk2,3
  • Red-winged blackbird (male)1,2
  • Rock pigeon2
  • Song sparrow4
  • White-breasted nuthatch4
  • White-throated sparrow1,4
  • Wood duck4
  • Yellow-rumped warbler2

I saw my first eastern phoebe today. I also saw a Harris’s sparrow in my yard for the first time.

Locations — in my backyard, at Leawood City Park, at Meadowbrook Park, and at a local creek. A single asterisk indicates first sighting. A double asterisk indicates first sighting in my yard.


1. Seen at home
2. Seen at Leawood City Park
3. Seen at Meadowbrook Park
4. Seen at a local creek

Bird Roll Call: March 14, 2018

  • American goldfinch
  • American robin
  • Black-capped chickadee
  • Blue jay
  • Common grackle
  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Downy woodpecker
  • European starling
  • House finch
  • House sparrow
  • Mourning dove
  • Northern cardinal
  • Northern flicker
  • Red-bellied woodpecker
  • Red-winged blackbird (male and female)
  • White-throated sparrow

I was happy to see that the female red-winged blackbird had once again joined the male in the yard. Also, my homemade suet is a hit with the birds. The Carolina wren is especially fond of it. He visited the suet feeder several times over the course of the day.

Location — in my backyard.

Bird Roll Call: March 13, 2018

  • Cooper’s / sharp-shinned hawk2,5
  • American coot5
  • American goldfinch1
  • American robin1,5
  • Black-capped chickadee1
  • Blue jay1
  • Bufflehead (three pairs)2
  • Canada goose2,5
  • Common grackle1,5
  • Dark-eyed junco1,4
  • Downy woodpecker1
  • European starling1,2,4,5
  • Great blue heron4,5
  • Great horned owl2
  • House finch1
  • House sparrow1
  • Mallard2,5
  • Mourning dove1,3,5
  • Mute swan3
  • Northern cardinal1,5
  • Northern flicker1
  • Red-bellied woodpecker1
  • Red-tailed hawk2
  • Red-winged blackbird (male)1,5
  • White-throated sparrow1

Locations — in my backyard, at Meadowbrook Park, at Villa Medici, at a local creek, and at Sprint Wetlands.


1. Seen at home
2. Seen at Meadowbrook Park
3. Seen at Villa Medici
4. Seen at a local creek
5. Seen at Sprint Wetlands

Bird Roll Call: March 12, 2018

  • American goldfinch1
  • American robin1
  • Barred owl (two heard singing duet)1
  • Black-capped chickadee (heard)1
  • Blue jay1
  • Common grackle1
  • Cooper’s hawk (adult and juvenile)2
  • Dark-eyed junco1
  • Downy woodpecker1
  • European starling1
  • Gull sp. (overhead)1
  • House finch1
  • House sparrow1
  • Mourning dove1
  • Northern cardinal1
  • Northern flicker (heard)1
  • Northern mockingbird2
  • Red-bellied woodpecker1
  • Red-winged blackbird (about three hundred)2
  • Red-tailed hawk2
  • White-throated sparrow1

I saw the adult Cooper’s hawk in the morning shortly after I woke up. A juvenile Cooper’s hawk flew through the yard and landed on the neighbor’s utility line in the evening.

My partner and I went out at dusk and saw several hundred (at least three hundred by my estimation) red-winged blackbirds in the Prairiefire Wetlands. They were briefly pursued by two red-tailed hawks who had a tussle with one another over hunting rights before they decided to turn in for the night. A single northern mockingbird kept the blackbirds company.

Just after 10 p.m., I heard two barred owls cawing and hooting at one another in a courtship duet similar to the audio file titled “Duet (Northern)” at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website. I believe the two live in a nest in my neighbor’s tree one house back and one house over.

Locations — in my backyard and at the Prairiefire Wetlands.


1. Seen at home
2. Seen near the Prairiefire Wetlands