Autumn comes later to Poplar Bluff than most of the state. I saw our final (so far) Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a plump female, at our feeder last Thursday, October 16. This is the latest hummingbird in my record book.
Later that afternoon I heard the first White-throated Sparrow in our brush pile. Since then the flock of "Poor Tom Peabody" birds has grown. They'll be singing here until mid-April, fully half of the year.
A day later a Winter Wren, the first for our yard, flew up from below our footbridge.
Of course, the leaves are turning color. This year the baldcypress in the swamps and the vines in the trees are especially colorful. The crops of acorns, walnuts, Virginia creeper and poison ivy berries, and other seeds are more abundant than I recall ever in the past, perhaps due to the severe drought here in 2007, when no crop was made. Should be a good winter for birds. . . if they ever come south.
Bruce Beck
Poplar Bluff
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Spring Meeting: May 1-3, 2009 in Columbia, MO.