Hawks fueling for their migration

Brenda Mallory's For the Birds.

The leaves are beginning to change. They fall in a crumply golden mass to the trails and forest floor. At least eight ruffed grouse walk around this place eating the bounty of Saskatoon berries that have dropped to the ground. Watching the male strutting his stuff in full display is a sight to behold.

Shirley in Fort Nelson has had a few white-crowned sparrows this past week. She is almost sure she has a golden crowned as well.

Several reports from the Northeast and this region tell me that the sandhill cranes are on the move south. They seem to be flying low over our pine trees. Just right for me to shout “good luck” to them. I am sure they are listening. Do you think bird watching makes old people a bit goofy? Surly not.

Geese are flying through as well. Also heard some swans. Did not get to see them. They could have been at Tyhee lake.

Hawks have begun their migration. The reports of more than usual around Fort Nelson and over the farmer’s fields tell me they are fuelling up for the trip south. Most hawks do eat mice, small birds and bugs. The nearby field here has attracted a red-tailed hawk who no doubt is eating grasshoppers.

Robins and evening grosbeaks I am sure have cleaned the last berries from the bushes here. Saskatoon and raspberries, gone. Soon they will resort to the crabapples and regular apples. Mountain ash berries too.

I was given a great book that some of you might like to get or give. It is titled “Best Ever Backyard Birding Tips.” It is a Rodale Publication and written by Deborah l. Martin.

I was asked by a reader the other day about roosting boxes. My new book had the information I needed. It told me that the roosting box should be two or three times bigger than a nesting box and taller than it is wide. The opening is at the bottom. Two inches in diameter should do. The inside should be rough and perches should be staggered inside. Place the box where the winter sun will warm the space. Six-to-10 feet in a tree.

Don’t forget to save some of the plant seed heads for winter birds. Tie them up and dry them. Sharon from Chetwynd tells me she put the whole seed thing in a bag. Good idea.

I will have to leave this for now. The crows are making a mess at the kitchen window and the dogs are barking  as if the bear is close by. Here I go again.

Thanks for keeping in touch when you call 250-846-5095. Great e-mail notes to mallory@bulkley.net.