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
>
>


--
Thanks!
Brian Pendergraft
919-270-5311

 
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