Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter
For those passionate about birding and nature
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- Bird Of The Month -
Anna's Hummingbird

Scientific name : Calypte anna

How to identify:  Tiny among birds, Anna's are medium-sized and stocky for a hummingbird. They have a straight, shortish bill and a fairly broad tail. When perched, wingtips meet the tip of their short tail.  Anna's Hummingbirds are mostly green and gray, without any rufous or orange marks on the body. The male's head and throat are covered in iridescent reddish-pink feathers that can look dull brown or gray without direct sunlight.
 
Habitat:  Anna's Hummingbirds are common in yards, parks, residential streets, eucalyptus groves, riverside woods, savannahs, and coastal scrub. They readily come to hummingbird feeders and flowering plants, including cultivated species in gardens.
 
Where to find one:  Anna's Hummingbirds are common in urban and suburban settings as well as wilder places such as chaparral, coastal scrub, oak savannahs, and open woodland. They are notably common around eucalyptus trees, even though eucalyptus was only introduced to the West Coast in the mid-nineteenth century.
 
How to attract one to your yard: Anna's Hummingbirds are welcome backyard birds and are easy to attract. Set out a hummingbird feeder, then mix your own hummingbird food using one part sugar to four parts water. Don't use honey or food coloring. Unlike most North American hummingbirds, Anna's Hummingbirds either don't migrate or else migrate a very short distance to better feeding grounds.
 
Anna's Hummingbirds eat nectar from many flowering plants, including currant, gooseberry, manzanita, and many introduced species such as eucalyptus. They also eat a wide array of insects from understory leaves, crevices, streambanks, or caught in spider webs, plucked from the air, or taken from flowers. They also help themselves to tree sap (and insects caught in it) leaking out from holes made by sapsuckers.
 
Interesting fact:  In rare occasions, bees and wasps may become impaled on the bill of an Anna's Hummingbird, causing the bird to starve to death.
 
For more information on Anna's Hummingbirds, 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
 

Go to the WBU site for more Bird of the Month newsletters & articles.  
 
Feeding Hummingbirds During Winter Cold



Recently, there have been a number of sightings in the Reno/Sparks areas of Anna's hummingbirds that seemed to have "missed" the migration call.  Being that some of these tiny birds might have decided to tough it out this winter with us, we are sharing some ways people can assist with this effort.  If you do choose to feed hummingbirds during the wintertime, please do it responsibly.  A hummingbird searches far and wide and selects a feeding territory based on the available food supplies it finds.  Your feeder will be an important part of its feeding territory.  If the feeder runs empty or freezes up, there might not be sufficient food elsewhere in their territory to enable the bird to survive.  Keep it filled with fresh nectar and thawed out all winter.  
  1. Make up some nectar and keep a stock of it in the refrigerator so it will be easy to fill the feeder.  If it is really cold out, it is fine to strengthen the nectar to a 1:3 ratio instead of 1:4.  The higher concentration will lower the freezing temperature of the nectar, helping to keep it thawed longer.  It will also help pack a bit more energy into their crop when they take that last drink before bedtime.
     
  2. You can also use the quick-change method: use two or more polycarbonate feeders which can be run through the dishwasher.  That way you can fill one, take it out, replace the stale or frozen one, bring that one in, and throw it in the dishwasher.  This makes feeder changes much quicker and easier, though these feeders will freeze more quickly than the Best-1 glass feeder in the winter.
     
  3. Put a hook above your porch light if feasible or hang the feeder under an eave with a waterproof light hanging next to it.  Make sure you can get the nectar close to a heat source so it doesn't freeze, and a light bulb makes a good heat source. 
     
  4. If your feeder does freeze up, bring it in as early in the morning as possible and change it for a fresh one or thaw it out. 
     
  5. Listen to the weather forecast, and if it will be freezing during the night, bring the feeders in at bedtime.  Get up at first light in the morning to put the feeders back out.  That way, the hummers can have their first feed with room temperature nectar to help them warm up after a long night of torpor.


christmas-header3.jpg

Christmas Seed Blend and Suet Cakes are here!
~Limited quantities through the holidays~



These make great gifts and special treats for our backyard feathered friends. 

Filled with b lack oil,  s unflower, rendered beef suet, roasted peanuts, corn, almond halves, raisins and cranberries,  they are sure to attract a wide variety of birds.
 
Check out all current sales and promotions on the  Moana Nursery website
Make Treats For The Birds

Making treats for the birds is an activity the whole family can enjoy. 


SUET STUFFING FOR PINE CONES
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup WBU Simply Suet® (pure rendered suet)
2 ½ cups coarse yellow cornmeal
WBU Deluxe Blend, raisins and/or peanuts (optional)
Mix peanut butter, suet and cornmeal together. Stir in birdseed, raisins or peanuts if desired. 

PINE CONE FEEDER
Pack Suet Stuffing into pine cones. Roll pine cones in WBU Seed Blend. Hang with string or ribbon from tree.  

BAGEL FEEDER
Split bagels in half. Allow to harden overnight. Spread peanut butter on each side and sprinkle with WBU Seed Blend. Tie a string through hole and hang. 
 
 


DECORATE A TREAT TREE

With all your homemade suet and seed treats, find a tree to decorate for your feathered friends.  Not only will it be appealing to look at but you are sure to get a grand show of appreciation from the locals!

Watch this video for some more great ideas...

Jingle Bells and Wild Bird Tales



Jingle bells, chickadee tails
Winter's finally here.
With lots of birds to see and feed,
it's a favorite time of year.

Hey!

Jingle bells, bird seed shells
Keep your feeders full.
Hungry birds need lots of food
when temperatures are cool.

Dashing through the snow,
birds look for food that'll "do it."
So be a friend to them,
and offer lots of suet.

Peanuts are also great
with all the fat birds need.
You may be surprised,
they'll eat it as much as seed.

Oh!

Jingle bells, yuletide smells
get your (heated) bath a-goin'.
It's sure to make your birds sing
even if it's snowin'.

Jingle bells, junco males
Enjoy some holiday cheer
from all of us to all of yours
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jingle Bells aside, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. Stop by the store this month and share a bit of the holiday season with us. 
 
We wish you and your family a happy holiday season!

Upcoming Events
 
Lahontan Audubon Society

Winnemucca Christmas Bird Count
When   Sat, December 12, 8am - 7pm
Where   508 W Winnemucca Blvd, Winnemucca, NV 89445

So. Lake Tahoe Christmas Bird Count
When   Mon, December 14, 8am - 5pm
Where   822 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Sierra Valley Christmas Bird Count
When   Tue, December 15, 7am - 7pm
Where   TBD

Elko Spring Creek CBC - Christmas Bird Count
When   Sat, December 19, 7am - 7pm
Where   1050 Sewell Dr, Elko, NV 89801

Truckee Meadows Christmas Bird Count
When   Sat, December 19, 7am - 7pm
Where   1810 Silverada Blvd, Reno, NV 89512

Carson City Christmas Bird Count
When   Sun, December 20, 7am - 7pm
Where   Carson City, NV

Pyramid Lake Christmas Bird Count
When   Fri, January 1, 2016, 7am - 7pm
Where   Crosby's Lodge, Sutcliffe 

Minden Christmas Bird Count
When   Sat, January 2, 2016, 7am - 7pm
Where   TBD 

For more information on Lahontan Audobon activities, go to http://www.nevadaaudubon.org/


Animal Ark

For more information on Animal Ark activities, go to http://animalark.org/ 
Nature Happenings

* Project FeederWatch continues, www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw
* Christmas Bird Count is this month, birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count
* Watch for Bald Eagles along the rivers.
* Beaver mating season.
* 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.
This is a great time to teach chickadees to feed from your hand.
* The smaller the bird, the earlier its hunt for food in the winter darkness.
* In preparation of the earliest nesting period of any bird (late-January through February), Great Horned Owls can be heard hooting at night in courtship.
* 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.
* Geminid Meteor Shower is mid-month.

Celebrating 10 years in Reno, NV! 
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