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November 2012 Wild Bird Center e-Newsletter
Views from Frisky's Porch
Frisky has been on his porch in recent weeks keeping track of of things and preparing his November update.
Cold November mornings remind Frisky that he needs to fluff up his fur coat to keep him warm. He misses his summer birds friends--the tanagers, warblers, and orioles. They are gone for the winter but will return to his yard next spring. He is renewing friendships with the new arrivals: juncos, white-throated sparrows, and purple finches. Laying out a winter feast now is a signal to the birds that his backyard will be a reliable food source throughout the winter.
Cold weather means that birds need to eat and digest more high-calorie and high-fat foods to maintain their body temperatures. Birds that eat above the ground on feeders are especially attracted to high-oil seeds like sunflower. If a mix is used, the millet and other small seeds will fall for the ground-feeders like doves and sparrows. Frisky always makes sure his feeders are well-stocked early in the morning, since birds waking on a cold morning need immediate energy to warm up. Frisky suggests evaluating your feeders now to determine if they will adequately protect the seed from the snow on those winter days. Another important consideration is the size and location of feeders. Using larger feeders in the winter means you don’t have to trudge through the snow to fill them everyday, and moving them to spots where they can be viewed while sitting on the windowsill over the heating duct rather than on the cold porch is highly recommended by Frisky.
Don’t forget the suet feeders in November, and don’t be surprised if you start going through suet a whole lot faster now that the weather has turned colder. The primary ingredient in suet is fat. While this should not be a staple in the diets of humans and cats, it is a great high-energy food for birds. It also helps birds keep their feathers healthy, which act as insulation in cold weather.
Many are surprised to learn that Goldfinches are year-round residents here. Just because you don’t see those bright yellow birds flitting around your feeders doesn’t mean they are not there. Goldfinches lose their brightly colored feathers in the fall molt; they remain a dull greenish-brown throughout the winter months. They are still recognizable from their black wings with the two white wing bars. Frisky keeps the nyjer feeders stocked for them. Many winters he also sees Pine Siskins at the nyjer feeders.
Frisky's best bird friends to look for in November include Cardinals, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, House Finches, White-Throated and White-Crowned Sparrows, and Juncos.
Frisky is ready to reveal a one-word treat for winter birds, and those that watch birds: water. As odd as his advice might sound, offering water in the freezing weather is a sure way to attract many species of birds. Clean feathers are necessary to keep birds warm. When they “fluff up”, they are using their feathers to hold warm air against their bodies, and clean feathers "fluff" better than dirty and dusty ones. Frisky is well aware of this, since the same is true for his fur coat--that just might be the reason he licks and cleans it constantly. Frisky uses a deicer to keep the birdbath water from freezing. These work on a thermostat and keep the water just warm enough so it will not freeze--about 35 to 40 degrees. There are also many new birdbath designs with deicers built in to the bowls. Electricity is a must for a deicer or heated birdbath--Frisky tried solar and battery models and they did not work well at all.
Frisky recommends Project Feeder Watch as a way to get young humans involved in watching birds and nature. Even if you don't want to participate in an organized bird watching program, you can still involved your children as they identify some or all of the birds at your bird feeder. A simple field guide can make this task a fun family activity. Have your kids make a list of every bird that visits your feeder through the winter months. You would be surprised at the number of species, and everyone will get better at bird identification..
Frisky loves Thanksgiving, as he gets a special turkey dinner just for him. His favorite is the turkey gravy, which he laps up before eating any of the food. He wishes all humans, their pet friends, and the birds in their yards a Happy Thanksgiving.
Check out our new Facebook page! Like us on Facebook by November 21 and we will give you a free 5 pound bag of our Birdwise Blend seed. Our Facebook URL is www.facebook.com/wbc.stlouis, or you can search on Facebook for "Wild Bird Center South County".
Holiday Gift Giving Made Easy!
Our November Product of the Month is the Kozy Bird Oasis Crescent Design Birdbath Heater. Don’t let falling temperatures stop you from enjoying your birds! Simply place this cleverly designed heater in any birdbath, plug it into any standard household outlet, and extend a warm welcome to your feathered friends all season long. It is thermostatically controlled, energy efficient, and the rubberized material lies flat in your bath so it takes up very little room. Best of all, it’s made in the USA. Bath in picture not included. Reg. $73.99, Sale $63.99, save $10.00.
Print and bring a copy of this newsletter to the store to use as your coupon.
Wild Bird Center, Birding Number of the Month: Missouri is one of the better states for wild turkey hunting. How many wild turkeys are estimated to be in Missouri?
The answer to the October Species Quiz (left picture) is the Common Nighthawk. What is the species in the picture on the right? Answer in the December e-Newsletter.
New Products and Special Savings in November!
The Birding Number of the Month. According to AmericanHunter.org, there are an estimated 308,000 turkeys in Missouri (March 2011) and 46,200 harvested in 2010. According to this source, Missouri is the third best turkey hunting state, behind Alabama (1) and Wisconsin (2).
Free Delivery--Not everyone enjoys getting out to run errands. If you would like to have your seed delivered to your home, give us a call. We'd be happy to help!
Want to attract more birds to your yard? Have a birding question? Visit Birding Tips on the Wild Bird Center site and Ask Denise.