Old World Aviaries

Backyard critters

by Scott Lewis

This is a list of birds and other critters I have seen in our backyard and around our house on the outskirts of Northeast Austin.

Bird
Frequency/Comments
American Crow Infrequent. Native to our area but seen only once in our yard. A flock flew over and paused briefly in November, 1999.
American Robin Infrequent late winter and spring.
Black-masked Lovebird Infrequent. Had a heck of a time catching this little devil. But, he's in a good home.
Black-throated Hummingbird Infrequent at feeder. Used to have lots, but used to have lots of honeysuckle.
Black Vulture Fairly frequent flying by.
Blue Jay Infrequent. Used to nest in the yard before the cat convinced them otherwise. The cat is really old now, so they are coming back.
Brewer's Blackbird Infrequent. Occasional at feeder in the spring.
Brown-headed Cowbird Zillions in late winter and spring.
Budgerigar Infrequent. We get psittacine visitors, I suspect because they are attracted by the noises our birds make.
Caracara (Mexican eagle) Infrequent. First observed 04/15/01.
Carolina Chickadee Frequent. Cute as bugs. Love sunflower.
Carolina Wren Frequent when you can spot them. Super-cute bird that sticks to the trunks of trees. Nested in yard once.
Cedar Wax Wing Infrequent. Migratory in spring.
Cliff Swallow Rare, at least low enough to be recognized. Rescued one fledgling that was down in the backyard.
Common Nighthawk Fairly frequent in the evenings.
Common Poorwill Infrequent. Amazing bird. Watched one for hours roosting in a tree on the edge of the yard. Incredibly well camouflaged.
Cooper's Hawk Frequent in January and February. Hell on bantam ducks and chickens. One hit the Vasa flight. Perhaps it thought they were big grackles.
Downy Woodpecker Infrequent. First seen 03/28/02.
European Starling Frequent. Nest in the backyard.
House Finch Frequent. Nest in the area. Really pretty birds. Love sunflower.
House Sparrow Frequent. Nest in the backyard.
Great Blue Heron Infrequent. Observed once flying by, 03/02.
Great Horned Owl Frequent. Only heard at night. Evidently, one lives in the neighborhood.
Great-tailed Grackle Gazillions. They ring the doorbell when the dog dish is empty.
Green Heron Infrequent. Observed once investigating the koi pond. Fortunately, the koi were nearly as big as the heron.
Inca Dove Frequent. Nest in the backyard. It doesn't get much cuter than Incas. A pair nested on a low branch in 1997, so we could watch the pair and the babies. Males fight like crazy before nesting. A few over-wintered in 1998 for the first time.
Nandaya Conure Infrequent.
Northern Cardinal Frequent. Males fuss a lot. Nest in the area. We once had a male destroy a mirror on a car fighting the other male that was infringing on his territory.
Northern Mockingbird Frequent. Nest in the area.
Purple Martin Infrequent. Used to be frequent, but we need to move our martin house.
Red-bellied Woodpecker Adult female observed 06/15/2003. Pair observed 05/21/2004.
Red-crowned Kinglet Tiny bird. Cute and very active. Observed 02/15/2003.
Red-tailed Hawk (light-phase) Infrequent. Seen in winter in trees bordering yard.
Red-winged Blackbird Gazillions in late winter and spring.
Ring-necked Dove One used to hang out with all the white wings.
Rock Dove Infrequent flyover.
Sharp-shinned Hawk Rare. Juvenile observed 10/13/2003.
Turkey Vulture Frequent. Circle when Linda sunbathes.
Tufted Titmouse Frequent. Both color morphs. Super-cute birds. Love sunflower. Nest in birdhouses in our yard.
White-winged Dove Gazillions. They ring the doorbell when the feeder is empty. A few over-wintered in 1998 for the first time.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Infrequent.
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Infrequent. Observed once.
Great-horned Owl Heard only. Frequent when we used to have free-ranging bantam chickens that roosted in a large oak tree in the backyard. Haven't heard the bird since the free dinners went away.
Bullock's Oriole Observed once. Immature male. 09/19/2011.
Yellow-headed Amazon Infrequent. A feral bird used to visit occasionally. Stayed in the big trees on the edge of the yard.

Other critters
Frequency/Comments
Racoon Infrequent night visitor.
Opossum Infrequent night visitor.
Coral Snake A beautiful small snake. One used to live under the front poarch.
Fox Squirrel Frequent in trees in yard. Drive Beaudreaux & Thibodeaux, the Catahoulas, nuts.
Texas Blind Snake Observed once at night on 06/23/28. A super neat little snake. Critters like this are why I refuse to use pesticides outside.
Mediterranean Gecko Resident on porches.
Cicada Killer A very large, very pretty wasp.
Leopard Frog Resident at koi pond.
Coyote Not seen in yard, but frequently heard on outskirts of neighborhood.


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