Monday, November 08, 2010

Bird Entertainment

Monday, November 8, 2010

A breezy, cold morning here on the mountain. 27 degrees an hour ago, 30.0 right now with rain falling even though it should be snow. The trip out with Karl the Wonder Dog required care getting down the slick steps and upon our return, the morning news listed school closings from Cabot to Waterbury as the front approaches.

Today started day two in minimal bird feeding as I am reluctant to fill up all the feeders until I know for sure that the bears have hibernated. Bears like bird seed and they do a terrible job on feeders as they seek out a different snack while gorging themselves before sleep sets in. This morning there is a good collection of chickadees, one white breasted nuthatch, several blue jays, half a dozen juncos and a couple male evening grosbeaks. This time of year I always hope for evening and pine grosbeaks to come and stay through the winter. Often an eruption of pine grosbeaks will appear in the crab apples and some will stay all winter but so far they are missing. I suspect that if I can continue to feed, the message of food will be telegraphed into the woods and other species might appear.

The wind is too strong today to safely work in the woods as I had planned. I think I'll spend some time later cleaning out the bird houses and disinfecting them for next spring's families. This doesn't take too long and provides a safer environment for young birds.

Watching birds in winter is a fine hobby. Bird seed is no longer inexpensive but area stores offer bird seed clubs so the price is reduced a little. I usually put several bags of sunflower, mixed seed and cracked corn in the cellar before the snow comes so it's easier to fill the feeders each day or so.

The Cornell Lab Of Ornithology is probably the best link to search for bird related information. Gardeners are known to enjoy birds and gardens look best with houses, feeders and watering opportunities. Although winter is approaching, part of the fun of bird watching is just beginning. If you have a minute, share some thoughts on birding with us. Building new houses is a winter project for me and Alex and might be something you'd be interested in too.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where freezing rain is coating the trees and birds feed in haste.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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