The Meadowlark Times The Official Newsletter of The Front Range Birding Company
Winter 2006


FRBC: A Nature Center For You and Your Family

in this issue
  • WINTER TIPS from our friends at Duncraft
  • Chick a dee dee dee....A Front Range Favorite
  • FRBC Free Seminar Series Presents: Beginning Beekeeping Jan 21 2006 1-3pm

  • WINTER TIPS from our friends at Duncraft

    1. Provide a Variety of Different Bird Feeders.

    A hanging feeder will appeal most to seed-eating birds such as chickadees that feed naturally at tree level. Ground level platforms, or those just a few feet off the ground -- will appeal to towhees and Juncos.  Suet feeders will bring woodpeckers -- and many others, too!  So a variety of feeders, with a variety of foods will bring the greatest variety of birds.

    2. Offer Shelter.

    Shelter on a cold winter's night can be a lifesaver for wild birds.  Your spring nest box, if cleaned out, can provide such shelter.  And winter roosting boxes are available.  Another backyard haven can be a pile of brush where birds can take refuge from the elements.

    3. Best Seed: Black Oil Sunflower Seed.

    Not appealing to pigeons, sparrows and blackbirds, and accepted eagerly by small songbirds. There are many good seed blends -- but your birds will always love this pure favorite!

    4. Deal With Squirrels.

    You can baffle them, and/or install squirrel-proof feeders. Because the fact is: if there is a squirrel on your feeder -- the birds won't come.  In addition, you may start a distraction feeding area just for them in another part of your yard--keep them busy with their own squirrel toys and corn-cobs! 

    5. Provide Ice-Free Water.

    Water is a necessity. In cold weather natural water sources freeze over. A heater in your bath or a heated birdbath create a winter oasis--drawing birds from neighboring areas.

    Happy birding all winter!

    Mike Dunn & Sharon Dunn

    Chick a dee dee dee....A Front Range Favorite

    This fairly tame and common visitor to our Front Range feeders has to be my favorite backyard winter bird. Most of the year their diet consists of insects and spiders. During the cold months they replace that diet with high fat and protein from your peanut, sunflower, and suet feeders. Many times they will fly right up to the feeder you are servicing seemingly trying to hurry you up. Actually this very complex avian species has many amateur and professional ornithologists trying to learn more about them.

    Chickadees generally stay in one area all season so you can name the ones that visit you. You will enjoy watching their signature behavior of casing out your feeder from a nearby tree or shrub. They will dart to it and with several flicks of the beak and body, dart back to the safety of the same branch. Back and forth they go for long periods of time. Often they will hide seeds in a stash so as to retrieve them latter. Both male and female have similar very recognizable markings. If you live close to the foothills you can find both the black capped and mountain varieties. I must say it is pretty cool to verify your first Mountain chickadee sighting.

    Chickadees will flock together and seem to always be in pairs. On cold nights they huddle together in old nests, birdhouses, or roosting boxes. This spring they will build a nest in a tree cavity or use a provided nest box from you.

    Chickadees belong to the titmouse family, Paridae. The scientific name of the black-capped chickadee is Poecile atricapilla. Their chickadee name of course comes from its distinguished chick – a – dee – dee call. Deciphering the incredible variations to this call has been the subject of many an ornithologist’s study.

    Enjoy the antics and calls of the chickadee this winter by providing them a great habitat in your backyard. You will be thoroughly entertained!

    Hummers leave mid October

    Mark your calendars for our 2nd annual open house set for Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30. HAWKQUEST will return as the featured attraction on the 29th along with our Arts and Crafts Fair. On the 30th the annual Dove Race for Youth will take place as we release approximately 300 homing pigeons for charity. Watch for details in the coming months. Get set for an early Spring Blast!

    FRBC Free Seminar Series Presents: Beginning Beekeeping Jan 21 2006 1-3pm

    January’s seminar will feature Jerry Webb, noted local beekeeper and owner of the Beekeeper Company. Jerry will introduce you to the art and science of beekeeping as a backyard hobby. The life and times of bees are fascinating. You will be amazed at how the social behavior of a bee colony operates and how important they are to nature’s structure. Of course the added benefit to the beekeeping hobby is loads of delicious honey for you and your family!

    Topics covered will include:

    - a review of a beekeepers year

    - pollination

    -the honey harvest and extraction

    -what really goes on inside the hive.

    Knowledge learned at the seminar will help expand your understanding of nature, local plants, gardening, and the difference between beneficial and destructive insects. Both young and adult will find this seminar fascinating.

    You will actually see a live Queen being attended by worker bees in an active observation hive!

    We will also touch on the Mason bee and other native bees working hard in your backyard. We sell Mason bee houses at the store as well as live bees to help start your own colony.

    Location of seminar will be at the Audubon Society of Greater Denver’s “classroom in the wild” on Waterton Road 4 miles south of C-470 in Waterton Canyon. Afterwards all attendees are invited to visit Jerry Webb’s store and honey house a short distance away.

    Call or email the store to reserve a place for you at the seminar. We will be happy to help provide detailed driving instructions.

    Hope to see you there. Tom & Diane

    (Look for future seminars on Falconry, wildlife sketching, optics, and native plants.)


    With winter brings the question of what role do we as humans play in providing a source of food and water for birds? Fact is we can be very helpful during the cold winter months when their natural food sources are either covered or in short supply.

    By using several feeders with several types of seed and spreading them out in the backyard you can accomplish a lot. You will be attracting a wide variety of birds and reducing the stress of “single feeder competition.” At the same time you will enjoy the added benefit of better viewing and photographic opportunities.

    When choosing seed, look for those that provide high fat and protein. These elements will enable birds to keep warm during cold and windy conditions, especially at night. Sunflower, Nyjer, peanuts, and suet, when used in appropriate feeders, are best for many species. If you have only one or two feeding stations use mixes that contain relatively small amounts of millet and just say no to Milo.

    This winter expect to see Chickadees, Wrens, Flickers, Downey and Hairy Woodpeckers, several types of Dark-eyed Juncos, Scrub and Eastern Jays, Sparrows, House Finches, and American Goldfinches. With patience many other varieties may visit, especially when you add a reliable water source. As temperatures drop below freezing your heated birdbath becomes a liquid magnet for essentially every type of bird in the area. Dehydration can be more of a threat to birds in the frozen dead of winter than starvation or exposure.

    If you do offer water and seed please help prevent the spread of disease by emptying baths and feeders once a week and cleaning them in a 10 percent solution of household bleach.

    Enjoy this perfectly “natural” hobby all year.


    So long Pepper ole pal. You never met a person you did't like.

    With a heavy heart we report late sad news to you.

    Pepper, our loyal dog and companion, has passed away after a sudden illness.

    We will miss him terribly and the joy he brought to all who knew him.

    Quick Links...

    Cornell Lab of Ornithology

    North American Bluebird Society

    Colorado Audubon At Home


    Audubon Colorado

    Colorado Field Ornithologist

    Denver field Ornithologist

    The Orchard Mason Bee

    TILLEY WINTER HATS - Great hat for in the field!

    Our wild bird food is delivered fresh each week from the Audubon Park Company in Akron, Colorado.

    We supply the best value and function in all types of bird feeders. The Droll Yankee feeder is among the best offering a lifetime warranty!

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