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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Goldfinches are here now, but don't look for a bright yellow bird.

American Goldfinch (winter feathers)
White-throated Sparrow

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Lots of birds have arrived in north Texas (or are coming), and will stay here all winter. Among them is the Goldfinch, which is not a bright yellow right now – it’s a dull yellow, almost tan because it's growing winter feathers. Other winter birds here are the Junco, Chipping Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-throated Sparrow and several others. These join the "regular" birds that are here all year long.

 
Yellow-rumped Warbler

 



Bats’ diet in Texas    Very few bats are vampires – none of the ones in north Texas. There are over 1100 species of bats in the world, and only three are what’s called vampire bats. They are limited only to Latin America. Vampire bats don’t “suck” blood like in the movies – they lap it; being careful never to kill, or even weaken, the “donor” (it makes no sense to harm your source of nourishment).

 The other bat species (1097 or so) eat insects, fruit, pollen and nectar. The bats here in north Texas can eat about 5000 flying insects per night, per bat! Lots of them have migrated south for the winter.  Many, however, remain in north Texas, inactive for the winter – often disguised as dead leaves on trees.

 

 

OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.