Topping up bird feeders will aid Island’s winter bird population

MANITOULIN—It is the time of year to fill your bird feeders.

By fillings up those feeders you will be providing food for the birds at the hardest time of the year, not to mention the entertainment factor of watching the birds close to your windows.

Bay Estates photographer John Savage is lucky enough to have a brown thrasher coming to his feeders. Brown thrashers usually go south in the winter, but one will occasionally will stay if food is provided.

Most winter feeder birds will eat seeds but some, such as woodpeckers and nuthatches, like to feed on a block of fat.

There seems to be plenty of mourning doves, blue jays and chickadees this winter. Finches are scarce, but there are a few purple finches and American goldfinches coming now to bird feeders.

The Christmas bird counts are coming up this month. The Mindemoya count is on Saturday, December 14 and the count “circle” includes Mindemoya, M’Chigeeng, Spring Bay, Providence Bay and Big Lake.

The Gore Bay count is on Sunday, December 15 and that count circle includes the East Bluff, Gordon, Evansville, Tobacco Lake, Ice Lake, Pleasant Valley and Poplar as well as Gore Bay.

If you live in one of these circles, have a bird feeder, can identify the common winter birds and want to take part, phone Chris Bell this week at 705-368-3410 to register. Some people have been taking part for years but we need more feeder watchers to improve the count. You will be asked to keep a count of the birds seen at your feeder and in your yard that day. If you are not sure what type of bird it is, we can help. Listening for owls at night would also help!

If you have any unusual birds, either at the feeders or elsewhere, we would be very interested in going to see them.

Chris Bell