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Just Outside My Door 08/16/12

August 22, 2012
By ELAINE G. COLE - COLUMNIST ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

We had a change in our weather last week Friday, having had a thunder and lightning storm Thursday night. It was only 70 degrees for the weekend. It seemed good after having so many days of 80 to 90 degrees. We got more rain too, which was much needed. Gardens and farmer crops are looking great, but of course lawns have to be mowed more often now. That's a small price to pay so no one should have complained.

I think even the birds are enjoying the cooler temperatures because they began visiting the feeders more. When the days were very hot, they didn't come much when it was mid-day. They flocked in more in the early morning and later in the afternoon and evening. Recently I read an article by David M. Bird entitled "The Impact of Light" in the current Bird Watcher's Digest about bird behavior. He wrote about how light affects birds.

Over the years I have learned a lot about birds by observing them in my yard and other nearby places. I have also gained knowledge from a variety of bird's publications written by various authors. Most everyone has heard of the deceased Roger Tory Peterson, author of many articles and books, but there are also other authors who have much information in their publications. They include William H. Thompson and his wife Elsa, the founders of the aforesaid magazine, Andrew M. Thompson and William H. Thompson III, Kenn Kaufman, Norma Stillwell, Tim Gallagher, Donald and Lillian Stokes, Stan Tekiela, Readers Digest, Neltje Blanchan, Gene Stratton-Porter and John V. Dennis. These are some of the author's I am most familiar with. One may find more recently published bird books currently available in bookstores. However, I found considerable information about light affecting birds in "A Complete Guide to Bird Feeding" by John V. Dennis. It was published in 1975 and has much useful information on bird feeding as a hobby. It gives various kinds of food that draw birds to feeders, trees and shrubs that attract them, how one can learn to hand tame birds, their diets, kinds of feeders, bird names, rodents that compete for their food and more.

If you have never fed birds in your yard, I can attest to the fact that they will provide you with much entertainment and enjoyment, especially in the winter months. It takes some dedication in feeding them regularly, at least in cold weather, for they will began to count on you for a portion of their food supply. The task doesn't take long to accomplish each day, but the feeders and birdbath should be kept clean and filled. One may also learn to identify the birds that visit them by sight and sound. Even a simple paperback bird book will help in that task.

A good time to start bird feeding, with one feeder, is in early September because it takes a few weeks for them to find it. Then by the time cold and or snow arrive the birds will know just where they can get food more easily. Of course they also get the majority of their food from nature. Birds began to depend on feeders especially in extremely difficult weather and things that might threaten or deplete nature food sources.



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