Our Wintertime Friends: The birds that call Tetherow home in the cold months
by Cal Elshoff
Winter has arrived!
We have the lowest number of species for the year around Tetherow, but there are still many birds in the area. Those you should be seeing include:Robins, Spotted Towhees, House Finches, Juncoes, Crossbills, Fox Sparrows, Quail, White Crowned Sparrows, Ravens, Flickers, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Pygmy and Redbreasted and White Breasted Nuthatches, Mourning Doves, Bushtits, Golden Crowned Kinglets, Chickadees, Kestrels, RedTailed Hawks, Sharp Shinned Hawks, and Coopers Hawks. Great Horned Owls are also present.
If you are fortunate you may see some Cedar Waxwings passing through. When the ponds aren’t frozen, they may contain Mallards, Ring necked Ducks, Coots, Teal, and Buffleheads. Canada Geese, Bald Eagles and an occasional Osprey (although almost all of these have migrated south) are seen flying over the course as well.
Many people feed the local birds in winter and that’s a good thing to do! Nyger seed and sunflower seed is the most common food provided, supplemented by suet feeders. Getting water can be a challenge for birds in the winter when everything is frozen up. If you have the ability to provide a small heating source to a flowing water basin for birds, you will get lots of visitors (the heating elements are sold in local bird and pet food places).
Please do not allow cats to be outside. Cats account for more bird mortalities than almost all other causes annually. In the winter, those kills get greater as birds are often concentrated at feeders making it easier for cats to kill them. Similarly, keeping dogs on leashes is a great thing for birds and deer and other wildlife. The winter weather stresses are compounded if deer, rabbits etc have to flee dogs running free, burning up energy needed to just get through the winter.In late January to early February, the migration will begin to turn around again and we will begin to see more birds and different species coming back.