A national snapshot will be taken May 9-10.
SUGAR ADDICT: The annual Spring North American Migration Count, conducted nationally since 1992, is traditionally the second weekend of May because this is when neotropical birds like hummingbirds are at the peak of their migration movement. Hummingbirds, like this rufous male, have just entered the Grande Ronde Valley. It's time to clean and fill up your feeders. Rather than use the commercial nectars, with the unnecessary red dye, simply heat up a solution of four parts water with one part sugar. Let the mixture cool after the sugar has dissolved. Scarlet monarda, a garden perennial, is very attractive to hummingbirds. For free plants, call 963-6977. Photo/JIM WARD
It is a “photo’’ that bird watchers throughout Union and Wallowa counties will have a chance to bring into sharper focus.
The picture will be provided by the annual Spring North American
Migration Count. The count is meant to provide a snapshot on the status
of birds at a point of time in North America.
Remnants of Old Man Winter’s icy grip are looming large as the start of turkey hunting season nears.
Many hunting sites at mid and upper elevations in Union and Wallowa
counties will be inaccessible because of snow when turkey season opens
throughout the state on Wednesday. Hunters are being advised by Oregon
Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists to stay in lower elevation
areas early in the season before the snow melts.
Hunters who try to drive to higher sites to hunt run the risk of getting stuck.
Geologists have it all wrong. Oh yeah, I sort of believe their
theory on how the earth was transformed – continental plates colliding,
pushing up great mountain ranges. And then there’s that ice
age/glacier thing. I just don’t buy their suggestion that it took
millions of years for these mountains to form. I’m positive that it’s
happening at a much more rapid pace. In fact, I’ve seen significant
changes in my lifetime.
When I was 18, the Blue Mountains were relatively flat. I could
pretty much hop and skip over any ridge and lope down any draw with
little effort. Even those peaks in the nearby Eagle Cap Wilderness
weren’t much of an obstacle. Laughing to myself, I used to wonder who
that guy was that labeled these peaks. Anyone could see these were just
hills with a couple of lazy, old mountain goats for ornaments.
Australia has the highest animal species extinction rate in the world.
Cats and red foxes are a big reason. They are a part of Australia’s present — but not its past.
Red foxes and cats are taking a terrible toll on Australia’s
wildlife, said Union wildlife biologist Pat Kennedy during a
presentation at a meeting of the Grande Ronde Bird Club Monday at EOU.
They are the talk of the local birding world. Sandhill cranes are returning to Ladd Marsh this spring.
Excited birders are reaching for their binocular.
Biologist Cathy Nowak is reaching for her radio.
Nowak is assisting with a study aimed at piecing together the travel
itineraries of sandhill cranes, including those returning to Ladd Marsh.
Much like a cornfield lured baseball players in the movie, “Field of
Dreams,’’ a birdhouse can be quite attractive to several species of
birds. But, unlike the movie, there really isn’t much magic involved —
just a few scrap boards and some simple tools.
A female western bluebird delivers a morsel to waiting young inside a birdhouse. Birds have a super-charged metabolism and can consume an incredible number of insect pests in the course of raising a summer brood. Along with maintaining healthy riparian areas, where birds thrive, landowners would do well by attracting birds through the use of artificial nestboxes. Photos/JIM WARD
In general, there’s really two types of birdhouses — the one that
resembles a miniature version of a Hilton hotel with multiple
compartments and a designer paint job. The other is a no-frills type
which is basically a square box with a small entrance hole poked in one
side. In truth, birds prefer the more simpler model. The more rustic
Not all birds are attracted to birdhouses. In fact, most species
either build a grass or twig nest on a limb, like robins, blackbirds
and jays, or nest on the ground like quail, meadowlarks and killdeer.
Those species that use birdhouses are referred to as cavity-nesters.
It’s really a trick we humans play.
JOSEPH — On Feb. 24, Sharon Nall of Joseph was fined and sentenced
to 40 hours of community service. Her crime is described as a “wildlife
violation,’’ which she admits she committed on Dec. 18 as she and her
husband, Larry, and their black Labrador retriever enjoyed a day of
skiing on Hurricane Creek Road about two miles from Joseph.
Their dog ran off the snow-bound road to explore in the trees and
underbrush and was caught in a leg-hold trap intended for wild
furbearing animals, probably a bobcat.
Sharon and Larry were able to free their dog from the trap and he
was not seriously injured. Sharon said she was very frightened and
angry about the incident and felt impelled to speak to whomever had set
the trap and sprayed scent around the site to attract animals to it.
She removed the trap and disturbed the site, thereby violating the law.
Listen up, archers.
Bernie Pellerite, left, talks with Norm Paullus of La Grande Sunday while conducting an archery course. The Observer/DICK MASON
Turn up your music, urge your children to annoy you and make an outrageous bet with your spouse.
A recipe for chaos?
And a recipe for archery tournament success...
JOSEPH — My bird of the month is the friendly little chickadee.
Mountain Chickaee. Photo E.H. Van Blaricom
There are three subspecies of chickadees that are common in Oregon.
The most numerous is the black-capped and the least common is the
chestnut-backed chickadee. But in our backyard, the mountain chickadee
outnumbers the black-capped about five to one. That is why I submitted
this photo of a mountain chickadee at our sunflower seed feeder.
Night skiing at Spout Springs will soon go dark.
VARIED TERRAIN: Spout Springs owner John Murray believes that Spout Springs, with its varied terrain, is an ideal place for alpine skiers of all levels to hone their skills. Map/skispoutsprings.com
Evening skiing at Spout Springs for this winter ends Feb. 21.
The lights though are not going out on Spout Springs Ski Area’s
season — far from it. The ski area has a solid snow pack and will
continue operating through March.
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