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Winter Feeeding
January 29, 2018

I work jigsaw puzzles during the winter months.

Not as often as I used to, they get addicting and time consuming.

Any way, Along comes Sophie thinking I might need a little help.

Her and Miss Penny helped me right out of a few pieces.

You ever work a puzzle with missing pieces?

A third January thaw has just passed, it sounds like winter just might stick around for a few weeks.

January 31, 2018 is a special day for the moon.

A trifecta so to speak.

We have a 'Blue Moon' (two full moons in the same month), a 'Super Moon', and a 'Total Lunar Eclipse'.

All within a 24 hour period.

Not everyone will see a total eclipse, and clouds may interfere with everything.

We also have a Blue moon in March.

No matter, we are inching closer to spring.

Enter February this week.

February is National Bird-Feeding Month in the United States.

This celebratory month was created to educate the public on the wild bird feeding and watching hobby.

Because of National Bird-Feeding Month, February has become the month most recognized with wild bird feeding promotions and activities.

February is an ideal time for promoting and enjoying the bird feeding hobby.

It is also a time of year when food in the wild begins to run in short supply.

Bird feeding, is it home-based hobby, and nature-oriented.

The 'Great Backyard Bird Count', is February 16-19, 2018.

Click on the following link to login in, or register.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Do you have some time to watch your birds (or make some time)?

I really get a kick out of watching my birds feed and flit around.

I love birds.

I am somewhat jealous of their freedom to fly anywhere they want to go.

I enjoy the color contrast of the male cardinals and the white backdrop winter provides.

The subtle beauty of a female cardinal.

My favorite are the friendly, almost trusting Black-capped chickadees.

Step outside and I hear chickadees, goldfinches, woodpeckers, juncos, cardinals, and other sparrows.

The loud squawk of a Blue jay can be heard.

How so many birds patiently wait for me to fill the feeders.

February arrives this week, a good reminder it is time to clean your feeders and water sources.

Be sure to keep your feeders clean of snow and ice.

Do you notice how chickadees will snatch and run?

Chickadees are also very easy to train for hand feeding, if you have some patience.

This is me a few years ago, and notice another waiting.

Watch chickadees (and other birds), and you will observe them selecting just the right seed (by weight) and take off to a protected area to peck it open.

Chickadees need to find a seed worthy of their effort so the actually weigh them.

They need a lot of energy, and no time to waste on sunflower seed with a small meat inside.

Nuthatches will grab and place the seed or peanut meat in a crevice and peck away.

Jays and doves will swallow them whole as strong stomach acids dissolve hard shells.

Some birds stash or Cache seeds in hiding spots for emergency feedings.

Studies have shown that these birds can recall hiding spots for at least 30 days.

While many birds will take from feeders, they prefer ground feeding.

I like to watch other birds like cardinals and finches work a seed from the hull.

How they maneuver the seed around, get the goods and drop the empty hull and grab another seed.

Another thing you can observe this time of year is the pecking order of your bird population.

Yes, in many species of birds there is a hierarchy.

There is often an Alpha male.

For Northern cardinals, it is easy to pick him out.

The most colorful or brightest red bird is the boss and gets first feeding rights, followed by his lady.

He also gets the choicest breeding grounds.

For other species, it is more subtle, but easy to pick him out be watching for a few minutes.

Sometimes it is the elder statesman, or it could be the most aggressive male.

The thing is, you can watch and learn who's the boss.

After that, there is the Beta and down the line, much like the pecking order in a wolf pack.

If you have some time, sit down and watch your feathered friends.

You may observe an act of aggression, or even a subtle body posturing.

You may even observe other birds sitting back and waiting their turns.

This time of year, birds of a feather will show up in loose flocks or small groups.

In that group is a dominate male.

I have several feeders and sometimes, I think just to assert his bossiness, the Alpha will chase others away.

When this happens, several birds of a feather will move to the front yard feeders and visa versa.

Other times, everyone eats in harmony.

It is a wonderful scene to see your feeders and yard full of birds.

Helping birds in the winter is becoming more important with the decline of habitat.

Helping wildlife not only helps them, but helps you as well.

You can't help but feel good about yourself when you help out some one else, or in this case, helping wildlife.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face".

Victor Hugo

Laughter is good medicine, it melts the cold winter looks from our face.

Does God Laugh?

Who gave you your laugh?

Your sense of humor?

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.”

Job 8:21

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors,

We borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

A Blessed week to you .

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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