Naturalist News – December 2010

mourning dove
Mourning Dove in my garden in previous years.

Bird feeding is the primary birding activity this month. So, this month’s newsletter has a distinct bird vibe.

Winter is a rough season for birds. The birds that don’t leave the area are the rugged and hearty souls that eat seeds and glean insect eggs and hibernating insects from trees and woody plants.

Providing food (seeds and suet) and water for our bird relatives is a good way to help them through the winter.

I buy a 40 lb. bag of black-oil sunflower seeds for about $25.00 from Schuylkill Environmental Center. Members get extra discounts.

This giant bag will last for several months. I also provide suet for woodpeckers, Titmice, Nuthatches and Chickadees. The House Sparrows will also eat it. I keep my Nyjer seed feeders filled for the finches. Suet, Black-oil sunflower and Nyjer seeds. That’s about it. I keep it simple to keep the costs down.

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Nature Calendar
December 5 – New moon
December 13 – First Quarter Moon
December 21 – Full Moon
December 22 – Winter Solstice, Winter begins
December 28 – Last Quarter Moon

Citizen Science to Participate in…
Project Feeder Watch
Count the birds that visit your feeders in this easy citizen science project that generates data on the abundance of North American birds.
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/

The Great Christmas Bird Count
From to , count birds in a group or in your backyard.
http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count

What to Observe (and sketch and photograph) Right Now
Watch the birds that come to your feeders


Waterfowl at Tinicum and other large, open bodies of water, like rivers
http://www.fws.gov/heinz/sightings.htm

Observe Bald Eagles fishing on the Susquehanna
http://www.donnallong.com/2010/12/bald-eagles-at-conwingo-dam-close-to.html

Learn Right Now
Feeder Types
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/FeederTypes.htm

The 5 Best Bird Feeders for Winter
http://magblog.audubon.org/5-best-bird-feeders-winter

What to Feed Birds – Bird Seed Preferences – Project Feeder Watch
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/BirdFoods.htm

Learn to identify winter feeder birds

Tricky bird IDs
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/TrickyBird_IDs.htm

Get a Free Winter Bird Mini-Poster from Project Feeder Watch
Or buy the Stokes Guides to Birds. It has a 4-page color spread of backyard feeder birds. Western or Eastern versions are available.
Support local nature centers by purchasing bird seed and feeding equipment. Places like Lowe’s, Home Depot and garden centers also have bird feed.
chickadee
Black-capped/Carolina Chickadee near my garden.

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