by Steve White
Weirs Times Contributing Writer
You may not wish to acknowledge this as you look out your frosty windows, but winter is beginning to loosen its grip on our region,. After two trips on the roof to remove several feet of snow, you begin to look for any signs of hope for the upcoming warm seasons.
The signs of spring are everywhere if you know what to look and listen for. Those large flocks of mourning doves you see each day seem to be spending considerable time chasing each other on the branches of trees or on your deck railing. This is a courtship ritual, with the male attempting an introduction to the female. However, she may not wish to entertain his advances at this time.
The drumming you hear in the distance during the months of February and March are also early sounds of spring. Unlike most birds, woodpeckers don’t sing. They drum to attract a mate at the end of winter and to announce a territory. They rap their bills frequently and methodically on the loudest surface they can find such as telephone poles, metal drain pipes, hollow trees, even houses.
If you think this is an irritant to some, you may be correct. After all, there is that small issue involving the 1995 Space Shuttle mission that had to be delayed because of this habit. You see, it was discovered that a flock of flickers had tapped six little holes into the Discovery’s external fuel tank!
Want to know just how big backyard bird feeding has become? Just ask the CBS network. In the summer of 2001, the Buick Open Golf Tournament was played in Pontiac Michigan. Listeners were entertained to the background natural sounds of wood thrush, hermit thrush, and even white-throated sparrows.
However, just one week later, the same network was televising the PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. The listeners to this tournament were also entertained to the same background bird sounds. But guess what? A whole lot of intelligent backyard birders know that there isn’t a white-throated sparrow within 500 hundred miles of Kentucky in August!
The CBS network was actually dubbing bird sounds from the previous weeks’ golf tournament and got caught. After showered with complaints, they had to admit their deception. It made the nightly news around the country.
A senior spokesperson couldn’t believe that so many people would be able to recognize correct bird sounds during a major sporting event. It seems the national media were in denial of a basic American fact. They are just now beginning to understand that over 65 million Americans now describe themselves as backyard bird feeders. It is the fastest growing outdoor recreational hobby in every sector of the country.
Enjoy your birds, you’re not alone!
Wild Bird Depot is located on Rt 11 in Gilford, NH. Steve White is a contributing author in major publications, a guest lecturer at major conventions in Atlanta and St. Louis as well as the host of WEZS 1350AM radio show “Bird Calls” with Lakes Region Newsday @ 8:30AM. Wild Bird Depot has donated over $5,000 to local rehabilitators and local nature centers since 1996. Be sure to check out our blog “Bird Droppings” via our website www.wildbirddepot.com. Like us on Facebook for great contests and prizes.