Wednesday, October 10, 2012 Feeders, Dipper, and Canada Geese

Seward Sporadic Bird Report

After thoroughly washing my two bird feeders and rinsing with bleach water, I filled them with fresh black oil sunflower seeds and put them up. The CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES watched the whole operation from close range and immediately hopped to it as I backed away. It was such a pleasure to hear their little conversations, and to watch them take a single seed to a branch to whack it open. STELLER'S JAYS took a break from burying their endless supply of peanuts to gobble up scattered sunflower seeds.

I highly recommend that you consider the possibility of bear activity in your neighborhood before putting up your feeders. It's too early for hibernation and attracting bears to your feeder could be fatal for the bear. I also recommend cleaning and disinfecting the feeders now, and periodically during the winter. Platform feeders especially need frequent cleaning and disinfecting to reduce the spread of disease. Tube style feeders are much less likely to spread disease. Squirrel excluders made of wire keep these cute nuisances from eating all the birdseed, and may help protect the songbirds from becoming squirrel dinner. (Yes, red squirrels eat birds!)

ROBINS and VARIED THRUSHES seem lulled by the abundance of Mt Ash berries. We always have a dozen or so of each every winter, but by January, they look pretty miserable, cold, and hungry. There's still time for these thrushes to migrate, if they don't dally too much longer.

Early October brings the silver salmon to our area streams to spawn. I was very pleased to find a young AMERICAN DIPPER at First Lake, paddling around like a little gray duck, head underwater, looking for salmon eggs.

Later in the afternoon, the clouds rolled in, leaving little windows of blue sky. The clouds played hide and seek with the mountains. Suddenly, I heard the faint but excited cry of geese high above, hidden by the cloud curtain. I tracked their invisible progress until they emerged and flew across one of the windows, then as quickly, disappeared. CANADA GEESE, mixed with a few smaller CACKLING GEESE, headed due south. Smarter than the thrushes!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

PS Here's a link to an article on Dippers by Ned Rozell

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