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

Pool plans disappoint Shuswap swim clubs

Mayor assures options for city rec centre only preliminary

Children’s organizations offer mixed reviews on Budget 2019

Concern over long waitlists, early intervention funding, but relief child care funds are included

Niedermayer jersey retirement ceremony a dream come true

Penticton minor hockey players bring home memories of a lifetime from Niedermayer jersey retirement

UPDATE: Tractor trailer overturned on Highway 3A near Yellow Lake

Drivers may be wise to plan an alternate route as crews will need to recover the truck

Crash near Walmart intersection slows Highway 1 traffic

Crews respond to what appeared to be two-vehicle crash

VIDEO: Massive elk herd runs across Washington State highway

Elk have been making an appearance in the Pacific Northwest

BREAKING: Woman, off-duty cop stabbed outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

Vehicle fire on Coquihalla near Kamloops

A large plume of smoke could be seen rising into the sky over Highway 5

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Top blues talent joins festival roster

Salmon Arm’s Roots and Blues adds stellar Canadian acts to 2019 event

Winter storm freezes U.S., halts air travel

Storm dumps snow or heavy rain, snarls travel in much of U.S.

Gwyneth Paltrow: Skier sued me to exploit my fame, wealth

The incident happened in Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah

Senior Golds climb rankings after Western Canada Tournament

First time since 2002 that Salmon Arm team has qualified for national rankings

Senior Golds climb rankings after Western Canada Tournament

First time since 2002 that Salmon Arm team has qualified for national rankings

Most Read