Friday, November 30, 2012

November Observations: Bye Bye Blackbird

Wonderful, warm November - doesn't that sound odd? But it has been, was. This morning it is 12° F. The first few snowflakes swirled in our sky on November 24. By November 28 the ground is white. I found it unusual to see a Red-winged Blackbird at my feeder. They usually leave for warmer climates by now. Each year I try to record when I think they have finally migrated:

2009: Last Red-winged Blackbird sighting recorded on November 2
2010: Last Red-winged Blackbird sighting recorded on November 11
2011: Not recorded, but last Grackle sighting recorded on November 7 - the Redwings are usually not far behind
2012: Last Red-winged Blackbird sighting recorded on November 28

The first to leave are males in their prime followed by their ladies. The last to leave are usually the young males not quite matured into their full black feathers. Young males are what I have been seeing at the feeders this month.

November is typically described as drab, grey but this Fall it has been anything but.

Pin Oak Leaves Nov 2012
The red leaves of Pin Oak

Maple Seeds
Maple Seedlings

Switch Grass in Nov
Switch Grass

Purple Prince Crabapples

Winterberry 'Winter Gold'

The red Winterberries were eaten before I had a chance to photograph them! This year I've fenced in my young shrubs foregoing the chicken wire wrap. I read somewhere, and apologize for not remembering the source, that rabbits don't like to feel fenced in and a simple gate around your shrubs will deter them from dining. We'll find out if it works.

Fenced in to deter rabbits

Snow on Sumac
First snow

Again, Garden Bloggers Bloom Day has snuck past me. Aside from berries and a few fading blooms of Coral Honeysuckle and Scabiosa, not much blooms for me in November with the exception of this surprise Daisy.

November Daisy
Surprise Daisy bloom

And so "dull, grey" November fades into gleeful, glitzy December. I am thankful to take in its natural beauty before it goes.


Bye bye blackbird. I look forward to your return in Spring.


  1. Interesting that your Blackbirds seem to be leaving later & later. Climate change? BTW what Scabiosa do you have? I have Scabiosa africana - native to my part of the world.

    1. Hi Garden Girl, I'm not sure I have enough history recorded on the RWBB's migration to say that they are leaving later than normal. I think we have definite cycles here in the severity of our weather that span several years time. It will be more interesting as time goes on. I also record the dates the birds arrive in the Spring. It is amazing how close to the date they arrive each year - more often on the exact same date or within a day or two. I have Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue' which I purchased mail order through Bluestone Perennials. I will have to take a look at Scabiosa africana!

  2. I think that whilst November can be drab when the sun shines and lights up the berries and autumn leaves it can be really magical

  3. I am amazed at how much warmer you were than we were...we had snow the Saturday after Thanksgiving but we had many frosts in mid blackbirds flew away in Sept here...loving the fading garden with all those berries...we use bird netting to protect shrubs and trees from rabbits and deer.

    1. Hi Donna, we do tend to have milder weather as long as the river (St. Lawrence) isn't frozen. Once the river does freeze, however, we receive the full winter treatment!


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