May Nature Happenings
Over 100 North American bird species supplement their natural diets with bird seed, suet, fruit and nectar obtained from feeders.
Access to abundant and healthy food supplies is important to birds…regardless of the season. Bird feeders provide a portion of these important nutritional needs for your backyard birds throughout the year.
Birds with access to backyard feeders benefit greatly from their ability to spend less time foraging for food and more time engaging in activities that enhance their health and safety. These activities can include:
• Less time spent searching for food and more time selecting better nesting sites and constructing higher quality nests.
• Adults have more time available for protecting their nest, eggs and young from predators.
• Research studies have shown that birds with access to bird feeders often lay eggs earlier than those without feeders, which is significant because earlier broods typically have better rates of survival and fledging success than later broods.
• When abundant food is accessible to parent birds, the young birds get extra nutrition, and this can increase the nestling’s rate of growth and reduce aggression among siblings.
• Breeding females spend less time foraging so she can better protect her eggs from predators, the young fledge earlier, and more survive.
• Less time spent foraging means more time spent being vigilant in spotting a predator in time to successfully evade it.
• Feeding birds in the summer will not make them too lazy, too dependent or keep them from migrating at the appropriate time! These old myths have been dispelled by modern research and observation.
• Contrary to popular belief, recent research shows summer to be the most abundant season for birds to visit feeders.
• The food and housing we provide can make a significant difference on how well birds will thrive and survive in our own backyards:
- Peregrine Falcon males are courting the larger females.
- Ospreys return and begin readying their nests near water where fish are abundant...like at the UO Law School and other local spots.
- Purple Martins return to Fern Ridge area.
- Evening Grosbeaks return to bird feeding stations for sunflower seed treats.. they are being seen this week, April 24.
- Migratory arrivals - Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Bullock’s Oriole, Vaux's Swift, flycatchers, Western Wood-Pewee, Swainson’s Thrush and Yellow Warbler.
- Penstemon, a favorite flower of hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, blooms.
- Black Cottonwoods shed their cottony seeds on breezy days.
- Western Tiger Swallowtail butterflies visit flowers.
- Turquoise-colored male Lazuli Buntings sing while rich brown females incubate eggs.
- Eta Aquarids meteor shower is early-May.
- Saturday May 12: Birds without Borders: 2018 International Migratory Bird Day is a celebration of birds and their natural habitats, will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Nearby Nature facilities in Alton Baker Park in Eugene. An early-bird bird walk will begin at 7:30 a.m.