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.
It is a nickname richly deserved.
Cougars are frequently called “mountain ghosts’’ because they are
stealth-like creatures rarely seen in the open like deer and elk.
Monitoring their population levels precisely is thus impossible, said
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Pat Matthews, who is
based in Enterprise.
Still, despite the secretive nature of cougars, it is safe to assume
that Northeast Oregon’s big cat population remained at least stable in
2008, Matthews said.
Sun Valley, Clint Eastwood and an Eastern Oregon man of diverse
talents — all three play key roles in the trails at Ski Anthony Lakes.
An Anthony Lakes skier cuts a turn and casts a long shadow at the bottom of Variety. - PHIL BULLOCK-The Observer
The names reveal links to Idaho’s Sun Valley Ski Resort, to when the
movie “Paint Your Wagon” starring Clint Eastwood was filmed at Anthony
Lakes and to the talents of the late Ben Francy, who grew up in Union
Following is a look at the stories behind the names of some of the runs and trails now open at Ski Anthony Lakes.
Winter is when most bird feeder operators do their thing.
Snow and colder temperatures make the birds hungrier. And while the
golf clubs are stashed in the closet, and the fishing pole is on the
rack, watching wild critters flit about the yard is a good way to ease
the January doldrums.
Feeding birds is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the country.
A break in the weather.
A skier glides along the Loppet Trail that starts at the Meacham Divide parking lot and ends at Loppet Point. Observer photos/PHIL BULLOCK
It is just what the Blue Mountain Nordic Club ordered.
And local skiers will be the beneficiaries this weekend.
Members of the Grande Ronde Bird Club are determined not to let Old Man Winter get the best of them.
COLORFUL SPECIMEN: Evening grosbeaks will likely be spotted during the 33rd annual Union County Christmas Bird Count Sunday. Photo/JIM WARD
That is why Sunday they will make another gallant attempt to conduct
the 33rd annual Union County Christmas Bird Count. The count was
originally scheduled for Dec. 21 but had to be canceled because of
extremely poor weather.
People interested in participating in Sunday’s bird count should
come to the Bobolink, a La Grande birding supply store at 1102
Washington Ave., to pick up a packet of materials for the event.
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