Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Monday, March 07, 2011

{BIRD NOTES} ~ March 7, 2011

Bird Notes

Chipmunk Crossing Birds
The 12 Wild Turkeys are still making their daily visit for cracked corn. As you can see from the attached photo they like the mixed bird seed too. A male Cardinal is establishing its territory by singing up a storm from different locations around our little acre. Yesterday a Hairy Woodpecker made a rare appearance and landed atop the telephone pole and drummed out a message for several minutes. On Thursday 6 Common Redpolls stopped by for some white millet and on Friday a lone Pine Siskin flew in wth a few Goldfinches for some Nyger seed.


Putney Polls
This warm  rainy morning has brought all kinds of surprises at my very soggy feeder.  The much talked about Redpolls made their first appearance here, a flock of 80-100 mobbed the feeder area. Very skittish about the squirrels, however.  I also was cheered by the first Red-winged Blackbird of the year who tried to get into the action but was chased away by  6 bullies of the Blue Jay gang.
---Burt Tepfer, Putney, VT

Bohemian Waxwings in Rockingham
A flock that varies from 70 to 140 Bohemian Waxwings, first seen on 2/28, continues on Hitchcock Hill in Rockingham.
---JoAnne Russo, Saxtons River, VT

Birds at Putney School Continue
There were several Pine Siskins amongst Goldfinches, the male (White-winged)Crossbill, and plenty of Common Redpolls at my feeders this morning. Bohemian Waxwings are calling in the background, too. Its a bonanza.
---David Moon, Putney School, Putney, VT

Selective Sightings in Putney, Brattleboro and Vernon
The morning started out with a flock of at least 100 Bohemian Waxwings and ~20 Cedar Waxwings in a tree by our house on Bonnyvale Rd in W. Bratt. At Putney School a male White-winged Crossbill, ~50 C. Redpolls, and 2 Carolina Wrens were the highlights. Above the dam in Vernon, early afternoon, there was 1 male Red-breasted Merganser, 1 male Bufflehead, 1 Pied-billed Grebe, and 12 Ring-necked Ducks. About 35 C. Goldeneye were feeding below the dam. I was very surprised to find 4 Lapland Longspurs feeding in the manure piles across from the Pond RD, RTE 142 intersection along with ~ 100 Horned Larks. I observed a flock of Snow buntings flying to the south but didn't get a count. Three Red-winged Blackbirds were perched along Rte 142.  Back in Bratt. 4 Turkey Vultures were circling around the intersection of Spruce St and Western Ave. Finally, the Merlin that I first observed 2/7 and haven't seen for two weeks was perched in a tree at the corner of Mather Rd and Bonnyvale Rd.
---Dave Johnston, West Brattleboro, VT

Feeder Birds Choice of Seed

1. Birds require foods with high nutritional content, especially protein and fat. A bird’s diet must fuel a metabolism that can require up to a whopping 10,000 calories a day (equivalent to a human consuming 155,000 calories). A bird’s inner furnace burns especially hot during flight and the breeding season and on the coldest days.
This means birds must make highly efficient choices about what they eat. A backyard feeder is an especially efficient place to forage because it mimics what scientists call a “resource patch,” a cluster of food much like a fruit-laden apple tree.
But don’t worry that birds will become too dependent on your feeders. Evolutionary pressures encourage birds to continuously sample a wide variety of foods because any bird that becomes dependent on a single patch or type of food will perish if it runs out.
2. Birds must have high-quality food. Birds are remarkably proficient at assessing potential food items for nutritional content and quality. If you watch your feeder closely, you may observe the animals lightly rattling individual seeds in their bills to weigh and taste them before deciding whether to drop them to the ground or eat them.
Low-quality foods are discarded and a consistently low-quality food patch may be avoided for a while—a behavior called “neophibia” that explains why birds learn to avoid your feeder if you put out old, moldy or inedible seeds.
3. Birds choose seeds that are easily handled and digested. This finding emphasizes that for birds, eating is not only about nutrition but about consuming a lot of food very quickly while avoiding predators. Research has shown that given a choice between high-quality, cumbersome seeds or low-quality, easily handled seeds, birds consistently choose the latter.
The bottom line:For these reasons and others, the study found that the most highly sought after seeds are: black oil sunflower, white proso millet, nyjer (thistle) seed and sunflower chips. Whichever seeds you buy, a growing body of evidence shows that backyard feeding helps wild birds—the animals’ growth rates, survival rates, breeding success and clutch sizes all improve markedly when they have access to feeders.
Adapted from “For the Birds: Which Seeds Are Best ?” by David Lukas, National Wildlife , October/November 2009.

Learn more about bird feeding: NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat™ Program provides homeowners with all the information they need to create quality outdoor spaces for birds using native plants as well as bird feeders.


Please share your birding news with us.
What have you got coming to your feeders?
Are there any birds nesting in your yard?
What have you seen while on a trip?
Drop us an e-mail

Al Merritt
W. Brattleboro, VT

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