to the November 2007 edition of the “Wild Bird Scoop…"

You will notice that I have switched November and December’s “Hot Topics”. I just thought it would be more appropriate. It takes more preparation to get a heated bird bath ready than it does to whip up some Christmas treats for feathered friends.

Please read on and contact us if you have any questions or comments.

This issue:

Hot Topic

    Types of Heated Bird Baths

    News & Reviews

    Quips & Queries

    Bird Bluff OR Bird Believable?

    Wild Bird Ballyhoo

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    Hot Topic

      You will enjoy visits by more wild birds in your backyard this winter if you provide a heated bird bath for them to drink and bath.

      Heated Bird Baths

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      News & Reviews

      • This story is a follow up from last month’s newsletter on migration. Several years ago, we were living on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario (Canada). One day I noticed at my bird feeder a bird which was the size of a Blue Jay and I thought it should be, but it wasn’t. The crest was missing on its head (which could make it a juvenile) but the colour wasn’t right either. It had streaks of blue on its tummy and none of the striking white on the wings. It looked like a Blue Jay which normally lives in our area having a very bad hair day. When I thumbed through my bird guide I was amazed to find it was a Scrub Jay! Their normal range is the western coastal states of the U.S., through to Texas and some found in south central Florida and Mexico. That’s a long “hike” from where we were living. (Perhaps he hitched a ride home with us from Florida.) But from time to time birds are blown off course by strong winds or they follow a group to where they are going; for whatever reason, “strays” make bird watching even more interesting.

        So never disbelieve what you see at your feeder. Here is another stray sighting from Alaska bird watching.

      • I am going to be adding a wild bird book review section on the site. I would like to share with you the first review here!

        Title: Bird-watcher

        Author: David Burnie

        Published by DK Publishing

        Before you can watch and enjoy baby birds in your back yard, you have to encourage their parents to build their nest nearby. One way to help this happen, is to provide the necessary building materials for a nest.

        Building materials! Before you get excited about providing bricks, mortar and wood products, the building of a nest requires far less sophisticated materials. All you need to do is place bowls on a picnic table, deck or some other structure. In the bowls, place small pieces of straw, twigs, pieces of wool, yarn and some moist mud. Then, don’t touch anything for a few days, other than ensuring that the mud is kept moist. The birds will do the rest.

        This is just one of the many great backyard birding tips that you will find in a wonderful little book called Birdwatcher. This Smithsonian book is published by DK Publishing and is a great tool to educate yourself or your children, or your grandchildren about the many ways that you can learn about birds and birding. (It really has a multi-generational appeal!)

        Now, back to building birds’ nests.

        The authors suggest that you “watch from a distance to see which materials they (the birds) take, and how they carry them. Who does the collecting? The male, the female, or both?” (pg 38)

        Not bothering the birds while they are in the nesting phase of their lives is important. Just keep your distance and you will learn a tremendous amount of information about our feathered friends.

        Birdwatcher contains a wide range of useful information that will help you learn more about birds and enjoy their presence in your backyard.

        You will learn how to set a unique table of foods including some that may not have crossed your mind. (Baked potatoes! Who knew!) You will find out about the unique habits of individual species. But most of all you will have fun and hardly even notice that you have increased your knowledge level!

        The Glossary at the back of the book contains some great definitions that go a long way to improving your backyard birding skills. For instance do you know what a bird pellet is? (The answer is at the bottom of this article.)

        The photography in the book, including some stamp-sized identification photos inside the front and back jackets, is incredible.

        DK Publishing’s Birdwatcher by David Burnie was published in 2005, but is still available in bookstores. It is a book that backyard birders of all ages will find delightful.

        Answer to “bird pellet”: “Indigestible food remains, which some birds cough up after they have had a meal.”

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      Quips and Queries

        Q: Do you know how many uses feathers provide for birds? (Besides flying of course.)

        Answer:

          1. Providing insulation for warmth.

          2. Keeping the bird dry.

          3. Allow aquatic birds the ability to swim.

          4. Showing off.

          5. Attracting a mate.

          (This intriguing little tidbit is from Bird-watcher.)

          If you have a question or comment, click here. If you don’t want your name listed with the question you ask, we won’t include it. We always ask permission first.

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        Bird Bluff OR Bird Believable?

          TRUE or FALSE:

          People used to explain migration by believing that some birds turned into other species which were still present, some hibernated in holes, some rolled up into balls and hibernated in the mud in ponds and some flew to the moon.

          (You will find the answer in the red and yellow box at the bottom of this e-zine.)

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        Wild Bird Ballyhoo

          In the December 2007 issue =>

          • Your Wild Birds will Love these Christmas Treats

          In the January 2008 issue =>

          • How Birds Survive Winter Temperatures

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        We really hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this newsletter, even half as much as we enjoyed preparing it!

        … and that’s "The Scoop" for now!

        Judy

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        Please contact us if you have any comments or questions. We’d love to hear from you and we will respond as quickly as possible.

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        Answer to Bird Bluff OR Bird Believable?

        True

        More about these folk beliefs from the next book review, “Birds” Smithsonian Q&A



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