Here is the September 2007 edition of the “Wild Bird Scoop…"
Yes… very late. I do apologize for the tardiness of September’s newsletter. (Life just has a way sometimes of interrupting ones well laid plans.)
October’s issue will follow in one week and then we’ll be back on schedule.
I would just like to wish Canadians a very Happy Thanksgiving weekend! (I encourage you to take a few moments between mouthfuls of turkey to look up and perhaps you will catch a glimpse of a migrating flock of birds overhead.)
And to all residents of the Northern hemisphere of the earth, you too should be looking skyward for the departing members of the feathered ones. The more southerly bird watchers of the earth will also benefit from eyes focused upward to welcome their weary travelers.
News & Reviews
Quips & Queries
Bird Bluff OR Bird Believable?
Wild Bird Ballyhoo
Am I on a bird migration route?
If you are a backyard birder, the chances are excellent that you are on a bird migration route!
Because bird migration is an arduous task for our feathered friends, they need to make lots of fuel stops. Over the course of time, birds seem to learn and remember where the abundant sources of food are located along their flight path. This is the reason why I always encourage backyard birders to keep their feeders full throughout autumn and early spring months.
This is especially true during hummingbirds migration, these little flying jewels require frequent fill ups of high-octane nectar to carry them thousands of miles to and from the sunny south.
Now, let’s get back to the question of whether you are situated on a bird migration route. The answer is simple, sort of, “You are!” But, then again, “You are not.”
Confused? Don’t be. There are four basic bird migration patterns in North America. The major migration routes follow major North American landforms.
There are the Atlantic and Pacific routes. Birds following these paths use the east and west coasts of America as their guiding markers. The Central route follows the Rocky Mountains, while the Mississippi route follows you guessed it, the Mississippi River.
But before you claim that you do not live near any of these areas and therefore are not on a migration route, consider this.
When you travel, you do not always follow the same route. Instead, you may take several roads before you take the major expressway which will take you to your destination. Similarly, birds may live in many different locations and in the autumn they travel different paths until they all finally arrive and join others in the final leg of their trip.
This is not unlike the thousands of snowbirds who migrate south each autumn and return north in the spring. If you live in eastern Canada or the northeastern United States there are three major routes that you follow twice a year on your annual migration. But not every snowbird lives along one of these three north-south expressways, instead they may drive many miles along other highways until they connect with their north-south route.
Leaving your feeders up all year or at least during the autumn feeding season until the beginning of winter will encourage migrating birds to visit your backyard. You will get the opportunity to see birds that are not usual inhabitants to your area. A watchful eye can turn up some unusual and unique sightings.
In our area I love to see how many different members of the Warbler family visit our yard each spring and autumn. Friends and neighbours often report seeing unique species in the area, but I think the most interesting and rare sighting was made a few years ago by my parents. Early one spring day, my dad spotted a white pelican swimming along the shoreline of their Georgian Bay home. This beautiful bird stayed three or four days before it left. Mom and Dad often wondered if the white pelican made its way back on course and ended up in its natural summer habitat of the northern prairies. It most likely had been blown off course by strong winds or perhaps took up traveling with a flock of Canada Geese, who knows.
But, let’s go back to the initial question. Do you live on a migration? Yes. Some routes are feeder paths to the main migration highways.
I hope that I have answered your question. Take time to sit back, enjoy a cup of tea and wait for the next visitor to arrive at your backyard feeder. You might be in for a delightful surprise!
News & Reviews
- If you are a real bird watching nut you will enjoy this nostalgic story published in the October 2007 edition of the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.
Tips on Wild Bird Migration Watching
- Take binoculars!
- Take snacks and water.
- Prepare for wet cool weather. (This year take sunscreen, a sun hat and dress cool.)
- Take a notebook and pen.
- Take a field guide to wild birds (perhaps for trees, plants and other wildlife too.)
- Take a compass and make notes of your surroundings if you are in unfamiliar territory.
- Look out for male moose in moose country, it’s rutting season!
Quips and Queries
Q: How soon do wild birds begin their migration southward in the autumn season?
A: Actually, many wild birds begin their journey south in the summer. Some males of certain species begin as early as the end of July. Many are thinking that way and preparing during the weeks of August. By the time September rolls around the exodus is well under way.
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.
Bird Bluff OR Bird Believable?
You can find more information about this question here!
Wild Bird Ballyhoo
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!
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Answer to Bird Bluff OR Bird Believable?
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