Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter
~ For those passionate about birding and nature ~
Jan 2nd, 2017                                                                                              Volume 1.17
Nature News

High Desert Bird of the Month
Yellow-rumped Warbler

 
 
BOM:  Yellow-rumped Warbler
Scientific name: Setophaga coronata

How to identify: 
Yellow-rumped Warblers are fairly large, full-bodied warblers with a large head, sturdy bill, and long, narrow tail. In summer, both sexes are a smart gray with flashes of white in the wings and yellow on the face, sides, and rump. Males are very strikingly shaded; females are duller and may show some brown. Winter birds are paler brown, with bright yellow rump and usually some yellow on the sides.
 
HabitatIn summer, Yellow-rumped Warblers are birds of open coniferous forests and edges, and to a lesser extent deciduous forests. In fall and winter they move to open woods and shrubby habitats, including coastal vegetation, parks, and residential areas.
 
Where to find one:Yellow-rumped Warblers typically forage in the outer tree canopies at middle heights. They're active, and you'll often see them sally out to catch insects in midair, sometimes on long flights. In winter they spend lots of time eating berries from shrubs, and they often travel in large flocks.
 
How to attract one to your yard:  During winter, Yellow-rumped Warblers find open areas with fruiting shrubs or scattered trees, such as parks, streamside woodlands, open pine and pine-oak forest, dunes (where bayberries are common), and residential areas.
Interesting fact:  Male Yellow-rumped Warblers tend to forage higher in trees than females do.
 
For more information on Yellow-rumped Warblers, visit one of the three Moana Nursery store locations:  1100 W. Moana Ln. & 11301 S. Virginia St., Reno and 7644 Pyramid Hwy., Sparks. 
 
Carmel Ruiz-Hilton is Manager of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shops at Moana Nursery in Reno/Sparks

Wild Birds Unlimited Freshest Bird Seed in Town!
Red Hot Prices All Month!

Nyjer: 49.99 reg / 39.99 sale
No Mess DP: 36.99 reg / 29.99 sale

 

Seed Blends Make Bird Feeding Easier

Just as people have diverse dining preferences, wild birds also have different food tastes. Many people are learning that these preferences can be indulged to attract the greatest variety of birds to their backyards.

The average backyard can be visited regularly by 15 to 20 different bird species. Bird feeders are successful in attracting birds because they imitate birds' natural feeding preferences.

Offering a seed blend is the best way to see a variety of birds. Blends are a mixture of seeds and nuts that numerous birds will enjoy eating.

Not all blends are created equal. Some blends add cereal grain fillers such as milo, wheat and oats, ingredients not preferred by most birds. In those cases, these fillers are left uneaten and found in a pile on the ground.

In many instances, you will find inexpensive bird seed blends have a very large quantity of cereal grain fillers.These fillers add bulk to the bag and lower the price, but they are undesired by the birds.

Wild Birds Unlimited offers a variety of seed blends that are specially formulated for birds in this area, all free of cereal fillers. Visit the store to learn more about the feeding preferences of the birds in your area.

How to Help Birds Survive Cold Weather

Typically, your feeders serve as a supplemental food source for birds. In contrast, during periods of extreme cold and severe winter weather, your birds may switch to utilizing your feeders as a critical source of food that enables them to survive from day to day. So make sure your foods are worth their weight with quality high-calorie, fatty foods for the birds.
You can play a vital role, as feeding the birds becomes critical when extremely cold conditions occur. At these times, a reliable supply of energy-heavy food can mean the difference between life and death for a bird. To stay warm, birds will expend energy very quickly, some losing up to 10% of their body weight on extremely cold nights. Food is the most essential element, providing birds with the energy, stamina and nutrition they need. An ample supply of high-calorie foods such as suet, Bark Butter, sunflower, Nyjer and more is crucial to a bird's survival.
  • Suet as well as Jim's Birdacious Bark Butter® and Bark Butter Bits are full of essential fat and protein helping birds, such as woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, wrens and others, maintain their high metabolic rate.
  • Nyjer and Finch Blend are high in fat and protein, and they are a favorite of goldfinches, Pine Siskin and Purple and House Finches.
  • Our Deluxe Blend is loaded with sunflower and safflower seeds and millet. Millet is high in carbohydrates and is especially good for attracting ground-feeding birds, such as native sparrows, juncos, towhees, quail and doves.
  • Bird food cylinders are a win-win for you and your birds. Cylinders, like No-Mess and Nutty for Nuts, are long-lasting allowing you fewer trips to fill the feeder. They are packed with high-calorie peanut, tree nut and sunflower energy to help the birds stay warmer. There are no shells, providing a quick energy snack for birds and no mess for you.
So in order to meet your birds' needs, it is important to have at least one foundational feeder that dependably provides food every day and does not have to be filled very often. Studies have demonstrated that a constant, and reliable source of supplemental food helps to improve the overall health and body condition of wild birds.
Help your birds know your food is worth the weight by locating your foundational feeder in a sheltered location out of the wind and keep it full of the high-calorie, fatty foods that provide birds the crucial nutrition they need to survive and thrive even during the coldest times of the year.
Stop by our store for more expert advice and quality foods that are worth the weight to help your birds thrive this winter.
Fun Facts About Winter Nutrition

Bird feeders can be an important food source during winter. When severe weather impacts wild food supplies, some species of birds will turn to feeders as a critical food resource. It is during these times that feeders play their most vital role. If a storm is of long duration or extreme impact, a feeding station may mean the difference between life and death for these birds.

There is no evidence that birds using feeders will alter their seasonal feeding habits when switching between seeds, insects and fruit.

A Pygmy Nuthatch's diet switches from eating mostly insects and spiders in the summer to primarily eating seeds in the winter. It visits feeders where its favorite foods are sunflower seeds and suet.

Studies show that birds do not become dependent on bird feeders. Research studies on Black-capped Chickadees have shown that only 20-25% of its diet will come from using feeders, the rest still comes from natural sources...even in winter. It is reasonable to conclude this is true of other feeder birds and that 80% of their diet is still from the natural sources.

Birds usually eat a quantity of food necessary to satisfy their energy needs, their food intake fluctuates with environmental temperature, their activity level, and the energy concentration of the diet.

If a bird decreases its intake of food due to lower energy needs, its dietary need for other nutrients increase proportionally. Conversely, if food intake increases, the required concentration of nutrients decreases proportionally.

Have you noticed how ravenously the birds eat at your bird feeders, especially first thing in the morning and just before dusk? They are stoking their internal heater to get the day started and replenish fat reserves for another cold night.

The average bird in an average environment must forage about five hours per day to meet its energy requirements. In winter, they may have to forage longer for much-needed energy.

During cold weather chickadees have been found to need twenty times more food than they do in summer.

When the temperature falls below 10º F (-12ºC), chickadees with access to feeders have a higher winter survival rate of 69% versus a 37% survival rate for populations without access to feeders.

Lipids are the most concentrated energy source that a bird can consume.

Lipids are substances such as a fat (like suet), oil (found in seeds) or wax (usually from tree fruits).

Dietary lipids supply energy and are the only dietary component that is deposited intact into tissue.

Storage pools of lipids (fats reserves) are the primary energy supply that fuels a bird between meals, through cool winter nights and throughout migration.

Songbirds and other small passerines may use up to ¾ of their fat reserves in one night then replenish those fat reserves the next day. As with chickadees this can be as much as 10% of their body weight.

Species with unreliable winter food sources store more fat than species with a more predictable food supply.

When fat reserves are depleted, protein, mostly from muscles, is depleted to sustain energy needs. So it is important for birds to eat plenty of calories each day.

A bird expends 60% of its energy through body heat.

Small birds conserve energy overnight by decreasing their body temperature. It is called "controlled hypothermia" when their temperature is between 25-35˚C (77-95˚F). It is considered "torpor" when their body temperature is below 25˚C (77˚F).

Chickadees are able to perform a controlled hypothermia at night to drop their body temperature about 12 to 15°F (-11º to -9ºC) lower than their normal day-time temperature. This allows them to conserve about 25% of their energy every hour at freezing temperatures.

The Pygmy Nuthatch is the only songbird that uses three different survival techniques simultaneously in order to endure cold winter nights. It roosts inside a protected tree cavity where it huddles together in a communal group with other nuthatches and it conserves energy by lowering its metabolism and body temperature.

Pygmy Nuthatches have never been observed to roost alone. They will always roost at night in a communal group which may contain up to 100 birds. This tightly packed mass of birds can warm the roosting cavity by 40° F or more over the outside temperature.

Chickadees have excellent coping tactics for surviving harsh winter weather. They cache foods and remember where they are hidden, have dense winter coats, diligently find excellent, well-insulated roosting cavities and can perform a regulated hypothermia to conserve energy overnight.

As opposed to fats, carbohydrates are an essential form of energy for juncos, sparrows and other ground-feeding birds. They prefer to eat quantity over quality being able to pull useful energy and the nutrients they need from carbohydrates. They gobble up large quantities of high-carb foods and sit in protective cover and digest.

The top recommended carbohydrate food for ground-feeding birds is primarily millet. Recommended blends include Select and No-Mess.

The top recommended (lipid) foods for birds to meet energy cravings are:
Recommended Blends: Choice, No-Mess HC (high chips), Supreme, BugBerry Blend, Nutty for Nuts
Recommended Seeds: Peanuts, Nyjer, Sunflower Chips
Recommended Other Foods: Stackable Seed and Suet Cylinders, all of Jim's Birdacious Treats
Upcoming Events
 
Lahontan Audubon Society

Sunday, January 1, 2017
7:00am
 Christmas Bird Count - Pyramid Lake
Monday, January 2, 2017
8:00am
 Christmas Bird Count - Winnemucca
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
4:00pm
 Birds & Books Reading Group
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
6:30pm
 From the Gulf Coast to Prudhoe Bay by Jim Eidel - Program Meeting
Saturday, January 28, 2017
8:00am
 Field Trip - Annual Dipper Day
Nature Happenings
* Jan. 1 - 31: Project FeederWatch continues 
* Jan. 3 - 4: Quadrantid Meteor Shower - See up to 60 falling meteors per hour! 
* Jan. 9: Full Moon, Jan. 23: New Moon 
* Jan. 11: Aldo Leopold's (Father of Wildlife Conservation) birthday 
* Watch for Bald Eagles along the rivers. 
* Beaver mating season. 
* Tree-loving birds such as Black-capped Chickadees, nuthatches and various woodpeckers will leave their winter night's cavity or roost box in search of high-calorie food. 
* Rather than search for worms in the frozen soil, large winter flocks of robins will visit fruit trees for food. 
* Cedar Waxwings will visit yards in search of fruit, often staying for hours before moving on. 
* Juncos will hunt for fallen seed, often before dawn. 
* Bushtits, our smallest winter visitors, can be seen in large flocks flitting all over suet feeders and other high-protein sources of food. 
* The smaller the bird, the earlier it hunts for food in the winter darkness. 
* Listen for Great Horned Owls' "hoot" as they pair up for mating season. 
* Now through late March is a difficult time for birds; providing food and an open source of water is important. 
* Winter is a great time to look for birds' nests. Admire the craftsmanship, but leave the nest in place. 
* The smaller the bird, the earlier it hunts for food in the winter darkness. 
* Listen for Great Horned Owls' "hoot" as they pair up for mating season. 
* Now through late March is a difficult time for birds; providing food and an open source of water is important. 
* Winter is a great time to look for birds' nests. Admire the craftsmanship, but leave the nest in place.
Feed Our Local Birds!
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Moana Nursery | 1100 W. Moana Lane | 11301 S. Virginia St. | 7655 Pyramid Hwy. | Reno/Sparks | NV | 89509