My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

winter solstice triggers changes in the birds

Old Nest

In the Northern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice officially occurs on the 21 st of December at exactly 7:20pm EST. At this point the sun will reach the Tropic of Capricorn making this the shortest day of the year. Here in Allegany State Park, NY we will have just over 9 hours of sunlight which I plan on celebrating by catching up on my sleep. We will begin to increase daylight hours until the Summer Solstice on the 21 st of June when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer. That is when I will be celebrating with very little sleep due to looking for many birds and butterflies.

It shouldn’t be too long before the birds start courting each other and being their nesting. Yep, I said that the birds will begin nesting here soon! By mid to late January there will be Great Horned Owls sitting low in an old hawk nest or they could even be in a squirrel nest. Mid February you can expect our Bald Eagles to be busy adding sticks to their nest and then sitting low through numerous snowstorms that will hit us. Ravens will disappear in the top of a hemlock tree deep in the forest with only a few occurrences of that bone-stuck-in-their-throat sound. Once groundhogs day arrives many of our songbirds will show changes in their behaviors with their songs being a common occurrence. Red-shouldered Hawks will be displaying high in the sky and Bluejays will be tricking me with their mimicking of numerous hawk species. Once warblers arrive, most male birds will have their testosterone at their highest levels and territory lines will be laid out. O, how spring is my favorite time of the year!!

Summer Solstice will be here in no time and I will then be discussing their fledging of nestlings and preparation of migrating south for the winter. How time flies when having fun with the birds.

11 responses

  1. Merry Christmas to you, too, Tom! Enjoy this quiet, restful season. Maybe we’ll see you at ASP over the holidays.
    Best,
    Mark

    21 December 2006 at 9:42 am

  2. Thanks for visiting Mark!! Please stop in if you get a chance! Happy Holidays to you!

    21 December 2006 at 11:44 pm

  3. Jeremy Martin

    Check out this article from cnn

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/12/20/birds.migration.reut/index.html

    22 December 2006 at 6:42 am

  4. Jeremy – isn’t that crazy! I would have to wonder if something similar is happening here with the lack of birds! Very interesting!

    22 December 2006 at 8:34 am

  5. Randy

    With the weather being as odd as it is, it’s good to know you can count on the days getting longer from now until June. 🙂

    I hope you caught up on some sleep!

    22 December 2006 at 10:11 am

  6. Naa, I was up till almost 12:30 last night! But I did get a little nap after work!

    22 December 2006 at 11:25 am

  7. Marg

    Sleep now while you can 😀

    22 December 2006 at 8:04 pm

  8. Marg

    Should have waited til after I read Jeremy’s article, which I thank him for posting btw.

    I’m sure this is happening here-saw a magnolia tree budding yesterday!

    22 December 2006 at 8:06 pm

  9. I hope to sleep in some the next few days but also want to get out birding for the holiday! That was a great article!

    22 December 2006 at 9:04 pm

  10. Rick

    Spring is not getting here quick enough. Happy Winter Solstice to you.

    22 December 2006 at 10:26 pm

  11. Rick – tell me about it and Happy Winter Solstice to you and Happy Holidays!

    23 December 2006 at 2:54 pm

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