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The Backyard Birder, Issue April 2012
April 01, 2012

The Spring Migration Has Begun!
And The Sad Story of A Bald Eagle

As the spring migration of birds commences, many readers have written, asking a variety of questions.

The following are answers to some of them.

Why Do Birds Migrate?

There are a number of theories, but the most satisfactory seems to be that it is an inherited rhythm of behavior. Birds in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere move away from the poles as temperature, day length and food supplies diminish. That being said, many birds start to head south in August, just as temperature and food are increasing. And some birds do not migrate at all. If there is sufficient food available birds are available to survive in harsh weather conditions. Man has not been able to explain everything about bird migration.

What Routes Do They Take?

Although birds migrate over just about everywhere, there are seven main migration routes in North America.
  • 1. The Atlantic Coast Flyway.
  • 2. The Appalachian Flyway ( many birds travel this route to Yucatan, Central America, South America)
  • 3. The Mississippi Flyway (likely the busiest route.)
  • 4. The Great Plains Flyway (usually to and from Mexico)
  • 5. The Sierra Nevada Flyway (major route for birds flying between western Canada and Mexico)
  • 6. The Pacific Coast Flyway (follows the Pacific coast)
  • 7. The Cross-country Flyway ( a great curving lane between western and central Canada and the southeastern United States)

How far do Birds Migrate?

It depends on the bird species. Robins and song sparrows often travel only a short distance south of their breeding grounds. The Red-eyed vireo and American redstart my breed as far north as Canada, yet travel south to South America. I’ve just seen my first Bobolink of the year. It travels from Argentina. One wonders why birds pass by ideal habitats in the tropics, with an abundance of food, and proceed further south.

It’s fun to keep a list on the calendar, of the dates the different species of birds return, and compare it to previous years.

Do Birds Return to The Same Place?

Once birds have nested, they tend to return to the same place year after year. However, this rule does not hold for birds that nest in colonies. Similarly it is believed birds tend to winter in the same spot as well.

How far do Birds Migrate?

It depends on the bird. Robins and song sparrows often travel only a short distance south of their breeding grounds. The Red-eyed vireo and American redstart my breed as far north as Canada, yet travel south to South America. I’ve just seen my first Bobolink of the year. It travels from Argentina. One wonders why birds pass by ideal habitats in the tropics, with an abundance of food, and proceed further south.

It’s fun to keep a list on the calendar, of the dates the different species of birds return, and compare it to previous years.

Bald Eagle Dies From Its Wounds

Behind my house, runs a walking trail that was the former Kettle Valley Railway line. Last week, a walker discovered an eagle lying on the trail. When she approached, it could only manage to fly 20 feet and then fall into the lake.

She had to jump into the lake to rescue it! She called a conservation officer who was able to capture it, and took it to a local veterinarian. An X-Ray showed the bird had been shot, with seven shotgun pellets, lodged in its wing.

The eagle was taken to a local bird rehabilitation facility, but sadly died a few dies later. The bird may have also suffered internal injuries from the shotgun pellets traveling through its body and ending in its wing.

Sadly, as the bald eagle was being picked up, its mate was flying overhead, squawking furiously, suggesting the pair may have already nested.

This means, that as there is only one bird, the babies will likely die. One parent cannot take care of them. It takes two.

Hunting of Bald Eagles is strictly illegal in North America. Conservation officers are investigating the shooting.

Recipe of the Month

by Diann Ledger of Staten Island, New York

Here’s a great way to use up bacon fat.

Bacon fat ,Seeds, Nuts and Fruit

Use old bacon grease. Let harden in the freezer. Take out and place any grains, nuts, berries, apples seeds, old crackers or bread and form to the desired shape for your bird feeder. The hardened bacon grease hold all the goodies together..all birds love it!!

Oriole Bird Feeder Sale!

Check out these great oriole bird feeders that are on sale. One of the prettiest birds you can attract to your backyard.

Putting your oriole bird feeders out early will give you the best chance of attracting these beautiful birds. You should put them out as soon as flowers begin blooming in your area.

Hope you will like us on our Facebook page.

Happy Birding!

Susan


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