Birdseed sales spike as birds contend with cold snap

Freezing weather forces fowl to find warmer waters

They may look tiny and fragile, but songbirds winter well in the Shuswap – even in the current cold snap.

Surveying his own Tappen area bird feeders, Shuswap Naturalist Club president Ed McDonald can see robins, varied thrush, chickadees, Eurasian collared doves, flickers, golden crown kinglets – the smallest bird around, dark eyed juncos, song sparrows and a couple of pine siskins.

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul,” says McDonald, quoting poet Emily Dickinson. “She was amazed at their survival ability and says if they can survive the winter, there’s hope for us all.”

Birds can survive because they have no feel for coldness in their feet and they’re feathers insulate them very well, he says, noting they seek shelter from the wind and night in shrubbery.

With snow and plummeting temperatures, the birds flock to bird feeders.

Related: Rare sighting draws excited birdwatchers to the Shuswap

At Buckerfields, seed sales were slow, but 8- and 16 kilogram bags of Buckerfields Original are flying out the door.

“The whole season was slow, all across the province, not just at this store,” says Buckerfields employee Toni Walton, noting the mild winter meant other food sources were available. “Not now. Bird seed sales have just not stopped.”

McDonald says when he was at the store to replenish his own supply, people were lined up to get bird seed. And that’s very important.

Related: Rare owl sighted during bird count

“If you started feeding the birds, don’t abandon them,” he says. “Chickadees will communicate to their friends that there is food so they’ll all come. If you stop feeding them, that will harm them.”

While the hardy little songbirds manage in the cold, other birds depart for warmer temperatures.

The beautiful fieldfare, a member of the thrush family and rare visitor to the Shuswap that drew excited birdwatchers from across the continent left around the first of February.

“She stuck around for a month or better and probably headed south,” McDonald says, noting waterfowl have also left the Shuswap. “Two weeks ago, we had quite a few trumpeter swans in Tappen Bay but most of the waterfowl have left because everything is frozen; they go wherever there’s open water.”

McDonald, who has been president of the Shuswap Naturalist Club for about 19 years, says fans of warmer weather will eventually hear the melodic song of the redwing blackbird.

“What rings in the spring? The redwing blackbird,” he laughs.


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

‘We think the democratic process is eroding’: Czech family visit Revelstoke promoting new voting method

In the Janeček voting method, voters can cast both positive and negative multiple votes

Revelstoke RCMP seize $1.9 million from ‘erratic’ driver

The driver and passenger were detained under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Liberals’ Kootenay-Columbia candidate stands by Trudeau despite scandal

Robin Goldsbury says the prime minister’s racist photo is a learning opportunity

Revelstoke athletes bring home 16 medals from 55+ BC Senior Games

The event took place in Kelowna Sept. 10-14

Maggie ‘May’ Davis’ CD release concert next week in Revelstoke

Davis had the most attended concert at Street Fest this summer

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

B.C. Premier John Horgan worried about ‘rise of racism’

Asked to comment on Justin Trudeau’s ‘blackface’ incidents

Falkland senior still missing

RCMP are worried about Bjorn Collnes after his van was recovered in Westwold

Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

Ombusman’s specific concerns re-surface in wake of bus crash that killed two students

Photos surface of Conservative candidate at B.C. event with people in blackface

The controversial “Black Peter” character has been a feature at Sinterklaas celebrations

B.C. Liberal leader says private sector development will help housing affordability

Andrew Wilkenson spoke in Kelowna during a real estate conference

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

Most Read