Bird Feeders


WC and Mrs. WC maintain a few bird feeders in our backyard. Tube feeders with sunflower seed kernels, tray feeders with mixed seeds, a mesh bag with nyjer and a small suet cake. Nothing fancy, but it draws in a decent variety of birds. We also have cracked corn in ground trays for Mallards and…

Climate Change and Bird Range Expansion


Back in 2017, Emma I. Greig, Eric M. Wood and David N. Bonter co-authored a paper documenting the range expansion of bird species in response to human activity. They chose as their example species Anna’s Hummingbird. They showed that, in response to milder winters, increased urbanization and more supplemental food sources – hummingbird feeders – Anna’s Hummingbirds had…

In the Dumps Over Lumps


Okay, WC admits that in the giant scheme of things to be depressed about, the pending lumping together of bird species hardly makes it on the radar of even dedicated birders. But WC laments the discovery of the genetic basis for variation among the three Redpoll species, and the news that the genetic variation among…

Return of Bird of the Week: Chopi Blackbird


Yes, another blackbird, this one found in eastern South America, in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil. The Chopi Blackbird gets its name for its primary call, a sharp, shrill “Shop-WEE!” which it gives frequently. Like its cousin, the Scarlet-headed Blackbird, it is monotypic, the only species in its genus. While it looks like a standard black-colored…

Bird Populations and Statistics


Mark Twain popularized the saying in Chapters from My Autobiography, published in the North American Review in 1907. “Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’”1 Twain’s…

Idaho’s Turkeys


WC isn’t talking about Idaho’s politicians here; a comparison of Wild Turkeys to Idaho’s legislators would be an insult to the genus Meleagris everywhere. Nor is WC talking about Wild Turkey, a nearly undrinkable brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey distilled and bottled by the Wild Turkey Distilling Co. and, by most reports, the favorite beverage of the…

Field Notes: Ruby Lake NWR


Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a 37,632 acre refuge on the easterly side of the Ruby Mountains in northeastern Nevada. Fed by some 200 springs along the base of the Ruby Mountains, it’s a year-round wetland, and both an important breeding area and a major migratory stopover for countless birds. It’s also a fine…