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Winter is a Time for Rest

ANN’S WINDOW TO NATURE “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” (1880s) Ralph Waldo Emerson Winter is a time for rest. Trees rest. Critters rest. We rest. As the days grow shorter and nights grow colder, we layer up with wool, fleece and down. We eat comfort foods cooked in the crock pot and we drink hot tea…

winter water

Winter Water

Want to attract more birds to your yard this winter? Supply a source of open water! When temperatures drop, birds are in a constant struggle to maintain their body temperatures. A steady source of fats and proteins will help to nourish and fuel birds’ metabolic needs and keep them warm. But also important—a source of water that is accessible (i.e.…

Earth Day April 22

Earth Day, Every Day

At All Seasons Wild Bird Store we celebrate Earth Day every day—in little ways. Earth Day was founded in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. The goal of the effort was to create public awareness and ultimately establish a federal bureau dedicated to clean air, clean water and threatened and endangered species. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has since…

Checking on a Bluebird Trail

This morning I had the opportunity to tag along with George Brown as he checked nest boxes along the bluebird trail he maintains. You may recall from a previous blog post that George is the Ramsey and Washington counties coordinator for the Bluebird Recovery Project (BBRC). Checking on the nest boxes weekly is a critical function of maintaining a bluebird…

Precocial or altricial? Describing hatchlings' degree of development

Altricial vs. Precocial Bird Young

By Guest Contributor MELISSA BLOCK Have you ever noticed that newly hatched birds all look different? For example, baby cardinals are born helpless, bald, eyes closed and heads bobbing. In contrast, Wood Duck babies—which look like miniature versions of their parents— jump from their nest box after just 24 hours. Ornithologists classify birds as either altricial or precocial  to describe…

The State of Irruption (so far)

Report by guest contributor MELISSA BLOCK (Minnetonka, Minnesota) This has been a crazy winter irruption this year—for some locales. It was predicted that we would not get a big influx of Pine Siskins this year, but we did, only early in the season. Most of them have now moved farther south. I know I was excited when I saw some…

Pine Siskin

Be ready for irruptions!

Minnesota’s occasional winter birds An irruption is defined as a sudden change in population density of a species in a location. Simply put, it’s an influx of a bird species (or multiple species) that we don’t usually see in our area. Irruptions can occur in response to an increase in a species populations or a change in movement patterns based…

The Mystery of Molting: Video

Birds spend a great deal of time caring for their feathers because their lives really do depend on them. A bird’s feathers keep them warm and dry, camouflage them from predators, attract mates during breeding  season and, most importantly, give them flight. Here’s a video based on guest contributor Melissa Block’s article in the September/October 2013 edition of our Bird’s-Eye View newsletter. Here, she explains…

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Winter’s Raptors

During the winter, when the leaves are off the trees, is a great time to spot hawks. With shorter daytime hours, the hawks are especially busy hunting for their next meal. Here are a few hawks you may see in our area over the winter. Rough-legged Hawk These beautiful hawks visit us during the winter from the Arctic. These hawks…