As we finish the last cold days of winter and anxiously await the return of the longer and warmer days, we realize the seasons are for a reason. With an open view of forest and meadow floor the last 30-45 days have made this a time when not only the owls but also the bald eagles are able to find lots of food, get into body condition and become the first “nesters” in the Central Kentucky area. Spottings of the bald eagle are becoming common right now. My husband spotted one just a couple days ago off the second exit in Corbin going toward the falls and was able to get close enough to get some good pictures with his phone as it was having a nice lunch on the side of the road. I’ve always had a fascination like so many others for these magnificent raptors, only seeing a couple in my life and only within the last couple of years at that.
DID YOU KNOW
The bald eagle is the national bird symbol of the United States and was on the endangered list until 2007. According to the Red List of Threatened Species, there are now over 10,000 bald eagles in North America.
Females lay one to three eggs in a nest made of sticks, grass, feathers and even cornstalks that are typically 2-4 feet deep and 4-5 feet wide. According to the Guinness Book of World records the largest bald eagle nest was found in St. Petersburg, Florida, measuring 9 feet wide and 20 feet deep weighing over 4,000 pound.
It takes a bald eagle up to five years to mature and get their full white head.
A bald eagle's diet is mainly fish and is notorious for stealing feed from other birds in mid air.
A bald eagle can live up to 38 years and are known to mate for life.
As February unfolds the eastern bluebirds will begin its courtship process with many pairs often having their first brood of babies as early as the first half of March.
As March rolls in many of us will be anxiously awaiting the return of our Purple Martin friends who will be returning from their winter pilgrimage from Brazil. What excites me is that other brightly colored visitors, orioles, hummingbirds and more, will soon be returning from the South. (tips in the next article). I can already see changes in the group of other birds that stay here all winter as woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and others start to seek out mating partners and desirable locations to nest. You can help many of these by getting your nest boxes and nesting material ready. It has alway been exciting for me to watch as birds nest and raise their young in my yard. Late winter and early springtime is a most important time to feed your backyard birds. There are few other food choices, since winter supplies in the wild have run out.
If you are worried about seed mess and sprouting use Song Of America Patio Low Millet Blend. All the seeds in it are hulled-every bite is eaten and the seeds that drop can't sprout. Spring also can be a time of unpredictable weather. Even though the days might be a bit warmer it can get quite cold at night, or an unseasonable storm can blanket us in ice or snow. Birds need to eat in order to stay warm. By offering nesting material and boxes and continuing to provide bird seed, you can make your yard come alive with the bright colors and cheerful songs of returning birds from their winter habitats.
Sit back- grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the show.
Mark your Calendars
The Great Backyard Birds Count is set to begin February 14-17. My most favorite count of the year. Anyone, any age can participate. You can count from your own backyard for as little as 15 minutes or make a full weekend of it.
Submit a separate checklist for each new day, for each new location or the same location if you counted at a different time of day. You simply estimate the greatest number of individual birds you see at one time.
Whether you’re a sage expert or a first-time birder, you can help create a snapshot of avian populations and provide critical information for future conservation efforts just by reporting what you see and hear. Every observation you submit gives scientists more insight into research areas such as how birds are adapting to suburban sprawl, West Nile Virus, and climate change. It’s free, it’s fun, and it makes a difference.
Feel free to stop in at Burkmann’s Backyard birds for a free checklist or go online to gbbc.birdcount.org to print your own checklist. When the count is complete simply drop your checklist off to Burkmann’s Backyard Birds or enter your own data through the gbbc.birdcount.org website.