Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Migration Report

The Dark-eyed Juncos have returned to Bon Bon Pond! These lovely little gray cold weather residents flew in late last month, marking a much earlier debut than previous years.  More surprisingly, usually migratory male Red-winged Blackbirds are still here with me enjoying both sunflower seeds and suet.  For central Minnesota,  these birds are supposed to switch over to an insect diet in late summer then clear out later in the season. My other winter birds arrived in mid-summer:  the Red-breasted Nuthatch on July 11th and the Pine Siskins a couple weeks later.  What in the world is going on here? 

Recently I viewed an excellent PBS documentary about hummingbirds (a portion of which I posted earlier—just click on the “Ruby throated Hummingbird” label below) which speculated that the migration patterns of these awe-inspiring avians had actually altered in response to human intervention.  Hummingbirds have begun to winter on the U.S. gulf coast since so many people are putting out nectar.  This revelation is not news to me.  On a much smaller scale, and in only four short years,  I have personally witnessed the dramatic effect that plentiful, nutritious and dependable food sources, plus year-round fresh water, will have on our feathered friends.  Both the scientific study of the hummers and my anecdotal evidence are exciting for birders as it proves that each of us, in our own backyard, can make a difference.

Peanut, the Red-breasted Nuthatch, a traditional winter bird of central Minnesota, now spends all but eight weeks per year (nesting in northern MN) at Bon Bon Pond.

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