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The Meadowlark Times The Official Newsletter of The Front Range Birding Company
Summer 2007

Greetings!

FRBC: A Nature Center For You and Your Family

in this issue
  • FRONT RANGE SPECIES PROFILE: RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD
  • Summer Tips for the Front Range Back Yard
  • Springtime in My Backyard
  • FRBC OPEN HOUSE A BIG DAY!
  • HOGBACK HONEY HARVEST SET FOR LABOR DAY
  • FRBC BEGINS SUMMER & FALL BIRD WALK & TALK SCHEDULE
  • Thank you for supporting us at FRBC.Tom, Diane, Sara, Shannon, and David.

  • Summer Tips for the Front Range Back Yard
    birdbath

    1. Put Out Summer-Fruiting Plants.

    Give your birds a variety of fruit and berry plants that bloom and produce thru the summer and into the fall. The many benefits include attracting beneficial pollinating insects which in turn attract such favorites as warblers, bluebirds, and hummingbirds. The season long fruit that will attract catbirds, robins, cedar waxwings, towhees, grosbeaks and others, Some examples include cherry, chokecherry, current, plum, raspberry, blackberry, grape, and elderberry. Additionally the birds will love the thick leafy cover these plants provide.

    2. Provide Safe Water.

    As with any season put out fresh water that is protected with a non-toxic cleaner. Whether your water is in a pedestal bath or pond, make sure it has a bird- friendly shallow area to help avoid accidents. Keep the water cool by using shade from hot afternoon sun and to reduce organic growth. Place the bath far enough away any cover such as shrubs to not give predators an unfair advantage. You can easily double the number of species that visit with a safe and reliable water source!

    .


    Springtime in My Backyard
    Chickadee

    by Shannon Jennings

    Oh my gosh, what a beautiful Spring we've had! To my delight I had five bird houses that birds decided to nest in.Most are being used by Finches and Sparrows. I can hear the babies" peeping."on my backyard walks. The other night I watched three baby Sparrows in the grass mastering their flying techniques--hop, hop, flutter, flutter, flying short distances, really flapping their wings as fast as they could. Right now there are three houses being used for a second clutch!

    On April 9th I saw my first Mourning Doves. Their whooo-whoooing is so soothing and what a nice way to wake up in the morning. I've been feeding them Daybreak Dove mix and safflower seed. All the other song birds seem to like the Daybreak Dove seed mix too, so that is what I've been putting in my caged Droll Yankee tube feeders. Right now there are probably twenty Doves feeding here several times a day.Since they are ground feeders I also put out a small platform feeder.

    About mid-April the Robins showed up. I've been putting dried cranberries and raisins on the deck railing for them.It's been fun watching the Mommy Robin trying to teach her babies how to fend for themselves.You can tell by their size and the speckles on their breasts that they were born a day or two apart.The oldest baby has just about mastered the art of feeding himself.The middle baby has a few more speckles and is turning orange on the lower breast.He's starting to take a few bites of food by himself andhas just about mastered flying.The youngest has little short wings and flutters them as fast as he can. Watching them can be quite comical at times.

    I've enjoyed watching the HouseFinches turn redder and the Goldfinches gaining back their beautiful gold plumage. Idiscovered that I have Lesser Goldfinches too!We have a Mini-Mag feeder filled with Nyjer seed and a sock feeder filled with Super Finch mix. The other evening I watched a Finch coaxing her baby onto the sock.Ittook a while, but the baby finally came over and seemed to really like the Super Finch mix.

    In late April we had a nice surprise. A pair of Lewis's Woodpeckers decided we had a pretty good set up and stayed around for four days before heading off to their next destination.They are a very dark gray with a darker gray band above their eyes.Their breast is white turning to red from their neck on down. We put some Tidy Gardner on the deck railing for them and they really seemed to like it and the apple on the fence.

    I put peanut splits on the railing for the squirrels.Yes, I do like the crafty little critters! Oh well, whoever comes into my yard gets to eat, drink and bathe in the bird baths. What a glorious Spring! Guess we'll have to see what Summer has in store for us.

    Shannon


    FRBC OPEN HOUSE A BIG DAY!
    Sara Releases Doves 2007

    Dove Race nets $10,000 For Jason Dahl charity

    May 5th was spectacular as we celebrated Int'l Migratory Bird Day in a big way. The weather held and the 3rd annual event went off without a hitch. Local artisans had a wide selection of handmade items and many folks took advantage of their availability for Mother's and Father's day gifts. The expert trainers from HawkQuest put on a fabulous show with their Golden Eagle, Great Horned Owl, American Kestrel, and of course the live flight demonstration of a Harris's Hawk.

    Topping off the day was the release of 111 white homing pigeons for the Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund by our friends from White Birds Unlimited.. Our many heartfelt thanks go out to the many dove sponsors. Their generous support helped raise almost $10,000! Enough to fund 4 scholarships at Denver's Metro State and San Jose State University. It was our best open house to date. The bar has been set for next year!


    HOGBACK HONEY HARVEST SET FOR LABOR DAY
    Tom & His Hives

    Pure raw local honey.

    The bees are working hard this spring and summer. Our 7 healthy hives should provide a bountiful crop of great local honey.

    Bee smart and check back with us for early availability.


    FRBC BEGINS SUMMER & FALL BIRD WALK & TALK SCHEDULE

    One of the most enjoyable activities at FRBC is to talk about and share our wildlife and wildlife habitat experiences with you our valued customers.

    Call us and sign up for a free bird walk or seminar.

    Sunday Aug 5th 8am-Noon Chatfield St Park

    Saturday Aug 25th 8am-Noon Waterton Canyon

    Sunday Sept 2nd 8am-Noon Chatfield St Park

    Saturday Sept 8th 8am-Noon Roxborough St Park

    Saturday Sept 22 1pm-4pm Red Rocks Park


    Thank you for supporting us at FRBC.Tom, Diane, Sara, Shannon, and David.
    FRBC CREW

    FRONT RANGE SPECIES PROFILE: RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD
    Rufus

    SELASPHORUS RUFUS

    By Sara Nelson

    One of the easiest hummingbirds to recognize at hummingbird feeders in Colorado is the rufous hummingbird. People describe them as "the little reddish hummingbird that chases all the other birds away." That perfectly describes three aspects of this unique bird. First, at 3 inches long, they are one of the smallest of the more than 20 species of hummingbirds in North America. Second, the reddish, rusty brown color is where they get their name, rufous comes from Latin for red. Third, the thing that rufous hummingbirds are best known for, both males and females are very territorial and aggressive. They seem to be very protective of feeders, spending more time chasing away other birds than they actually do drinking.

    Rufous hummingbirds are not typically seen in Colorado until later in the summer, the end of June being the earliest. This is when their unique migratory pattern brings them to visit us. They spend winters typically in Mexico, and in the early spring migrate north through California as flowers begin blooming. They then breed in Alaska, which is the northern-most breeding ground of any hummingbird. After breeding, they migrate south, following the Rocky Mountains. Males arrive here first, followed by females and then juveniles. They also frequently wander during this southern migration, appearing at people's feeders as far east as Nova Scotia and Florida. The rufous hummingbirds will stay in our area until early fall.

    The broad-tailed, black-chinned and calliope hummingbirds are also found along the Front Range. Putting up a hummingbird feeder is an easy way to enjoy all of these birds. Pausing to take a drink from a feeder slows these quick birds down enough to get a good look at them! There is a common myth that hummingbird feeders stop hummingbirds from migrating south on time. Not to worry, the hummingbirds have been doing this for a long time; they know when it is time to leave. Most of their diet is actually insects, so they must travel south to warmer weather to find enough food.

    One more tip.

    If rufous hummingbirds are being bullies at your feeders, try this tip from our friends at Par-A-Sol, makers of fine hand-blown feeders. Fill one feeder with sugar water made sweeter than your other feeders. The rufous should defend this feeder and leave the rest to other birds. Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy this well-traveled visitor to your yard!

    Sara

    Quick Links...

    Cornell Lab of Ornithology

    North American Bluebird Society

    Audubon Society of Greater Denver

    The Plains Conservation Center

    Audubon Colorado

    Colorado Field Ornithologist

    Denver field Ornithologist

    The Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory

    Red Rocks Park

    COMMING THIS FALL: LIFE IS GOOD! We think you will love this new T-shirt and hats product line. The folks at Life Is Good are top shelf and support many fine charities.


    CHECK OUT OUR FULL LINE OF DROLL YANKEE FEEDERS




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