This past week I have enjoyed receiving emails from customers sharing their experiences of bird activity in their yard as a result of our snowy weather. I like to call this heightened activity a “feeding frenzy,” as that is what it looks like. And it is not just the seed-eaters that have been desperate for food.
More than once this past week, I have come home from work only to find my hummingbird feeder completely covered in snow, making the food inaccessible to the male Anna’s hummingbird that continues to hang around my yard. The first time it happened this week, as I walked out the back sliding glass door to retrieve the feeder, the hummingbird flew directly up to me, within probably a foot of my face, just for a second or two, then flew away. I have to believe it was asking for help, as it needed to eat, and it couldn’t access the food.
Between the hummingbird feeder, the seed, the suet, and the Mr. Bird Wild Bird Feast cylinders, my yard has been mobbed with birds. It is a known fact that supplementing what wild birds find in nature increases their survival rate in winter. Birds who have acclimated to urban environments — where bird feeding is a common practice — certainly have it easier, as the food supply continually gets replenished at feeders.
As you can imagine, deep snow makes finding food very challenging for ground-feeding birds. As I drove this stretch of Iron Springs Road, it was interesting to witness the large number of ground-feeding birds — mostly juncos and spotted towhees — who were foraging on the pavement in search of something to eat.
These poor birds were trying to eke out an existence by feeding in the emergency lane, as this area had been plowed, leaving the pavement exposed. How these birds find enough food on an asphalt surface is beyond understanding, but this is where they were feeding as it was an open, snow-free area.
This week I continued my jaunts out to Granite Creek, Watson Woods, Watson Lake, Willow Creek and Willow Lake. Granite Creek is no longer a creek — it is a river! One of the places where I check the water level for Granite Creek is in Watson Woods. There is a trailhead at the intersection of Rosser Street and Highway 89. From there I walk north on a small dirt road which takes me to a low-water crossing. On Monday, the creek was probably at least 125-feet across at this particular spot.
This evening (Thursday, Jan. 26) at 7 p.m. is the monthly Audubon Society meeting, which is free and open to the public. It should be an excellent program presented by an individual who went to Baffin Island to go bird watching. Please join us in the fellowship hall at Trinity Presbyterian Church at the corner of Park Avenue and Copper Basin Road.
This Saturday, Jan. 28, I will be leading a free guided bird walk for Jay’s Bird Barn to an area near the Prescott Airport. It will be a chilly morning, but hopefully we’ll see a good variety of birds. If you would like to attend, call the store to sign up, as we limit our bird walks to 12 individuals.
Until next week, Happy Birding!