Showing posts from December, 2015

Christmas Bird Count - Kate Crowley

Christmas Bird Count Throughout our lives we develop new traditions over the Christmas holiday season; some with our families, some with friends, and some for our own pleasure.  I would like to suggest a new tradition that can begin at any age - join a Christmas Bird Count. Begun in 1900 by a group of 27 Audubon Society members, this annual census has gone from a total of 89 species of birds counted that first year to 72,653 observers in 2015, who counted a total of 63 million birds! Like the Feederwatch program which was covered in an earlier blog, this is another important Citizen Science project for anyone interested in birds. The one day counts happen between December 14th and January 5th.  You can join as many counting ‘circles’ as you wish.  To find out how to sign up for a count, you should go to the Audubon website.  It will also give you lots more information about all previous counts and summaries.  The counts are done in a circular area 15 miles across and one person is desig…

Woodpeckers and suet

WINGIN’ IT By Kate Crowley It’s hard to be inspired on a rainy day in mid-December in northern Minnesota, but I am finding a bit of a bright spot watching the woodpeckers.  We hung two suet feeders from the branches of the maple right next to our deck, and a third from the overhang near the kitchen window and this fall the action has been non-stop.  We have thought about hanging even more because for some reason this year we have been blessed with an abundance of these black and white birds. 
In Minnesota there are nine species of woodpeckers (including the yellow-shafted flicker and yellow-bellied sapsucker).  A couple – the black-backed and three-toed are only found in our far northern coniferous forests.  For the most part, what you can expect to see in the winter are the Downy, Hairy and Pileated Woodpeckers, although some people also see the Red-bellied. 

Even though they are not the most colorful of our birds – the male and female downy and hairy have red caps and both male and pil…