Date: 1/11/18 8:04 am From: Brian Pendergraft (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...> Subject: Re: northernmost Ruby-throateds
I've been feeding our feathered friends for years, and I lay my head down at nights knowing that my efforts are positive, and sometimes even contributing to their health and well-being. I don't keep a feeder out in the winter for the hummers, because my schedule doesn't allow the time and effort, plus my last Ruby-throat leaves around the 10th of October anyway. There are many folks on this list serve that are more knowledgeable about hummers than I am, so I'll leave that piece alone. However I do have a few thoughts on the other central NC residential and visitor species that I see in my yard at Falls Lake.
First of all....I agree with Steve. We aren't changing any habits, or causing birds not to migrate. The key here is that folks like myself are "adding to" the food supply that is most of the time is naturally available anyway. Weather conditions like extreme cold, intense thunderstorms, warmer than normal summers, dry conditions, all can have an affect on what the birds can find away from our feeders. So why not give them an option? Examples: Fox Sparrows only visit my yard when it snows. Why? Because they are attracted by the others and they have a free meal waiting for them. Pine Siskins and Purple Finches don't visit my property unless there is a natural food shortage up north. In this case, I feel pretty damn sure that I'm helping them survive. Yes I keep my feeders clean, and the ground under the feeders clean. And every April that there is a fallout of finches here in my yard, they all leave to go back to their breeding grounds. I'm not keeping them here by feeding them. I'm just giving them a fighting chance.
I went to Tractor Supply last night and there was ZERO black oil sunflower seed in the store, and although I was a bit disappointed because I needed some, I had a smile on my face because I knew that there were others like me who flocked to the store during this recent cold snap..
I have monthly records dating back to 1996 relative to what species have been in my yard. 127 species, most of which have been seen in and around the yard, but not all visiting the free morsels that I provide. Everyone on this list knows the common stuff (i.e. chickadees, titmice, juncos, etc...) that visit feeders regularly, but I haven't to this point observed a late fall BT Blue Warbler taking suet, or an overwintering B/W Warbler bouncing around. My yard is best in May and October, because the resident birds attract the migrants but during the other months, it's back to the resident stuff. I am a huge proponent of providing multiple water sources, and I keep a heated bath working during the winter, and this is a prime example of how I help the birds, especially when everything else is frozen, or we're experiencing a drought like the one in 2009.
Most have hit the delete button by now, but if you know me personally, or even been to my yard during the GC Thrush program or otherwise, you know I love spending time feeding and watching all the species that frequent my little piece of heaven. It's a passion for me. Although there may be folks on this list who have more scientific data on the subject, or simply don't have the desire to feed birds, I'll continue to do my part, and hell I may even learn something.
Brian Pendergraft Falls Lake, NC
On Thu, Jan 11, 2018 at 9:07 AM, "Shultz, Steven" <carolinabirds...> wrote:
> I'll be interested in hearing reports, and the tantalizing hint about > John's comments (which I find to pretty much always be well thought out and > of interest) on the feeder question. > > I'll throw in a couple of random thoughts, not that well thought out. > > One, if I am driving to California (migrating) and happen across a really > great chicken fried steak restaurant in Texas, will I ditch my plans for a > sunny winter in SoCal and hang out in Texas, seemingly unable to resist the > allure of tasty beef? Well maybe. But I suspect I will pull myself away > from that trough of goodness and keep going. No matter how good the > restaurant, I'm not likely to change my overall plans. > > But, you say, that is a totally ridiculous example. People are way > smarter and more focused than hummingbirds. Well maybe. But I need a map > to migrate, and they seem to be able to do it without one, so who's to > say... > > Anyway, maybe a more realistic example. If feeders keep birds from > migrating... why are we not smothered with Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (or > Indigo Buntings, or [insert name of pretty much any species of migratory > bird that uses your feeders] every winter? They hit seed feeders pretty > hard in the fall... most folks keep or increase their seed offerings in the > winter... why don't we "keep" those birds from migrating south? I think > the answer is... we don't. So what would be so different about > hummingbirds? Do feeders help increase the chance of survival in marginal > conditions? Sure. Would some of these birds die without the feeders? > Maybe. Do these marginally capable birds persist as a result and then die > when conditions really get bad? That seems to make sense. > > Now nothing to do but set flame-resistant helmet visor to "down", > microwave some popcorn, and wait for the resultant firestorm ;-) > > Steve Shultz > Apex, NC > > > -----Original Message----- > From: <carolinabirds-request...> [mailto:carolinabirds-request@ > duke.edu] On Behalf Of John Fussell > Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2018 8:39 AM > To: carolinabirds > Subject: northernmost Ruby-throateds > > In the wake of the rain/sleet/snow and sharp cold spell, I would be > interested in knowing where the northernmost Ruby-throated Hummers in the > state are now. > > Kelly Davis at Mattamuskeet has two, as does Ann Maddock at Cape Hatteras. > Here in the Morehead-Beaufort area there are a few birds, although not as > many as before the bad weather. > > Are there any other Ruby-throateds north of Morehead-Beaufort, other than > the ones cited above? > > Have numbers also decreased in the Wilmington area? > > Just curious. > > I also have some comments about whether or not feeders keep hummingbirds > from migrating south; I'll get around to posting those later. > > John Fussell > Morehead City, NC > >