"A Jacket in The Morning"

Oregon Junco

        The first storms of winter are coming. About the time you need to wear a jacket in the mornings, our winter visitors will be here (birds). One of the main questions this time of year is about bird feeders and the kind of feed to use. New research shows that birds can actually taste how much protein is in a seed. Birds do not like old juncoseed. They eat seeds that are easy to handle and go through their digestive system to give them quick energy. Most of their energy needs come from available wild sources. Bird Feeders, however, are godsends when winter winds blow, and the nights are cold. This is when a bird’s energy needs can increase 20 times its normal rate.

        We buy large sacks containing a mixture of bird seed. Some birds eat right from the feeder and others are ground feeders. My favorite ground feeder is the Dark-eyed Junco. They cheerfully clean up what other birds throw out of the hanging feeder. Our feeders hang over a concrete driveway so when seeds spill, very little is wasted.

        When storm fronts arrive, we look forward to having winter visitors at our feeders, like Juncos. These peppy little birds move with a distinctive jumping run on the ground, and when they take flight, two white outer tail feathers flash. There are many varieties of Juncos, in color and size, but all have outer white tail feathers. This makes it easy to identify a flock of unknown birds in flight. If identifying birds sounds interesting, call me about participating in our annual Christmas Bird Count come December. Details are on our web site at .

        The artist, Keith Davis, has chosen the Oregon Junco to draw. Thank you for this great rendition. If you have questions about birds, bird seed, or the Christmas Bird Count, call Marilyn Davis at 435 673-0996. 

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