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Autumn Birding

Fall represents cool days, crisp, clean-smelling air – a relief from the hot, sultry days of summer – autumn colors and preparation for winter’s harshness.As the animals store up for winter and hunting season begins and we break out winter sweaters and long pants (though in Colorado many of us keep these items available even in July), there is an air of peace. Many times, I don’t get much birding done in the fall because all I want to do is sit and soak up the sun’s warmth and enjoy the stillness. For I know it won’t be long before there is snow on the ground, and there still seems to be a grimness about winter, which makes outings somewhat less than enjoyable.The birds also seem to sense the peace of fall, for while they are migrating thousands of miles back to Mexico or South America, they take it at a much more leisurely pace than they did on their way north. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. In the spring, the males are trying to get to breeding grounds as fast as they can in order to get first dibs on the best territories. The guy with the best piece of land is always the one the girls fight over, whereas, the poor fellow who only got a patch of dirt, well …
  2. The girls also want to get there and get the guy with the best genes, who
  3. They want to get there as close to the end of the cold weather as possible to raise as many broods of young as they can and still get back south before the cold weather sets in.
So, the birds are much more visible in the fall, and offer greater rewards for the birder than the spring migration does.Some migrants to be watching for are many species of warblers, including Townend’s Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler and the Yellow-Rumped Warbler. Others, such as vireos, birds of prey, and grosbeaks can also be seen.Remember, it’s fall, a time of relaxation. Just get out there in the woods, find somewhere to sit down, and enjoy the season. Believe me, it’s what I’ll be doing.

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