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Old 11-30-2010, 11:31 PM   #1
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I have a question for the birders in our group.

The maps show an extensive summer range, and an extensive winter range. Do the birds at the farthest north of the summer range end up in the farthest north of the winter range, and vice versa, so every individual flies roughly the same distance, or is it random? Or if not random, is it based on age, health, breeding status, or some other measurable factor?

Do most birds return to the same wintering area year after year, or do they just stop off wherever the pickings look good? I wonder if these are "my" juncos coming back each year, or just some random birds who happen to come by.

I realize these are very general questions, and there will be exceptions to any answer you give me, and it probably varies somewhat year to year if there is exceptional weather one way or another.
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:37 AM   #2
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That's a good question. I looked it up for you.

Bird Migration
Bird Banding (near bottom of page, second paragraph)
"Through bird banding, it's been discovered that many individual birds migrate back and forth to the very same wintering and nesting spots, often thousands of miles apart."

I can usually tell when we are going to get really cold weather or snow when the Juncos show up at my feeder. I call them snow birds. They are migrating south because it is colder in the north.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:46 AM   #3
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No expert opinion here. But I have been in this house for seven years, and every year there has been a pair of orioles nesting in the same swamp oak in my yard. Because they always pick the same tree, I have to think it's the same pair or their offspring. I also have chickadees who come looking for the bird feeder on the back of my house even before I put it up for the winter, so they have to have been here the year before.
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:02 PM   #4
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Thanks, Runmede. The link is fascinating. For instance

The American Robin migrates, though in most of the U.S. it can be seen year round. If you live in Missouri, for instance, the robins you've seen all summer may, during fall migration, head south to Texas, while the robins you see during the winter may have nested in Canada.

Benji, that was my inexpert opinion as well. I had a pair of chickadees who came back to the same bird house for three years, until it was taken over by bumblebees.
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
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...I also have chickadees who come looking for the bird feeder on the back of my house even before I put it up for the winter, so they have to have been here the year before.
This year, my chickadees seemed to be watching me as I put up the feeder and were feeding from it almost immediately. It was as if they were waiting for me to set it up.

My first year feeding it seemed the birds took a while to find it, so I'm guessing they are the same birds from last year or before.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:39 AM   #6
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If you can add a heated bird bath (for those areas that freeze), you'll get to see even more birds.
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:46 PM   #7
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If you can add a heated bird bath (for those areas that freeze), you'll get to see even more birds.

I've been wanting to add a water feature--more elaborate than a birdbath (which is part of the delay) for a long time. I have bluebirds nest in my yard, and want to see them bring their fledglings to the birdbath.
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:09 PM   #8
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The birds love my pond and stream, but also come to the bird bath I keep on my deck near my feeder - as do the squirrels. In the winter I pour hot water into it once or twice a day to keep it from freezing over since I don't want to spend the money on a heated birdbath for the relatively brief periods it freezes here in NC.

Using a small aquarium pump and airstone going can be an inexpensive way to keep a bird bath from completely freezing over unless you live in a truly frigid climate like Havalotta (Michigan UP). Just be sure the pump is protected from the elements.

Dapjwy, you could just put out a plant saucer with water in it in the meanwhile until you decide on a fancier water feature. Pouring a cup of hot water into it is fairly low maintenance.
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:45 PM   #9
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Dapjwy, you could just put out a plant saucer with water in it in the meanwhile until you decide on a fancier water feature. Pouring a cup of hot water into it is fairly low maintenance.
I have some rocks with shallow depression in them that I have set out for my unfinished project. I can put water there or try your saucer idea.

The other day I found a layer of ice in a garden cart that I left out in the rain. I poured the water into the rock depressions. The next day I put the ice there which melted into the depression.

I looked for some pictures I took, but gave up after a while.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:21 AM   #10
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The water outside has been freezing for almost 2 weeks now. Our night time temperatures have been dropping below 20 F. Pouring hot water in would only keep it partially unfrozen. I have a cement bird bath on my deck. I purchased a bird bath heater from Lowes. I put a piece of slate over the heater so it doesn't come in contact with the birds. Some of the birds actually take baths even in winter. I tie the extension cord around the neck of the bird bath and then plug in the heater so that the heater plug is tucked under the bird bath.

Almost every day, I go out and wash out the bird bath and give them fresh water. Water is very important in the winter. There is a large creek not too far away, but I love watching the birds come for a drink.
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