Birdwatching Dot Com
Birdwatching Dot Com Newsletter Early Winter Birding
December 2006

Winter's Greetings!

Birdwatchers get to enjoy winter more! Whether you're traveling or watching the feeders in your own back yard, birds will enliven your winter days. Good birding!

in this issue
  • Spruce Grouse
  • Hand Feeding Wild Birds
  • Dear Diane...
  • Big and strong? Maybe...

  • Hand Feeding Wild Birds
    Bird in the hands

    Your backyard birds can be landing on your shoulder and taking food from your hand this winter.

    With a little encouragement, birds will accept you as part of nature—perhaps even as a friend. It's not difficult to win the trust of your bird guests.

    Dear Diane...

    Dear Diane: My grandson loves birds, and I'd like to encourage his interest. Can you suggest any gifts that would help?

    —Bob C., Manhattan Beach, CA

    The greatest gift is for you to watch birds with him. Many birders credit their interest to a teacher, relative, or friend who drew their attention to birds.

    You can also find books and binoculars appropriate to the child's age. Give a hand-held gadget that plays bird songs. Or a build-your-own birdhouse kit, with pre-cut wood and a kid's-sized hammer.

    Big and strong? Maybe...
    Big and small

    You can't guess how strong a binocular is by its size. Some tiny binoculars magnify tenfold, while some larger ones magnify only sevenfold.

    Here's what actually determines the power of a binocular.

    The bird in hands painting is copyright Debbie Kaspari.
    The spruce grouse photo is copyright Ralph Lieske.

    Spruce Grouse
    Spruce grouse

    I grew up in Southern California, where for a winter treat people would drive their children to the mountains to see the snow. Now live in Iowa, but I still think winter is fun, and the deeper the snow, the better.

    So when I got a chance to go to Minnesota for some winter birding, I happily met a broup of birders before dawn and headed toward Duluth, beside myself with anticipation.

    At the top of my Minnesota wish list was the spruce grouse, a chicken-like bird that lives in the remote coniferous forests of the far north.

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