Bird Feeding Tips for October: October is the time for Halloween, leaves to turn red and fall off the trees, and migrating birds to go passing through. Have several types of feeders out in your yard: a hopper-style feeder with a good mix, a ground-style feeder with millet, a suet or peanut feeder, or both, and a nyjer feeder. Have at least one bath, and for those of you in the North, now might be the time to add a deicer. October is also a good month to increase the amount of white millet you put out, as Dark-eyed Juncos are arriving for the winter and they love it. That's all for October Bird Feeding Tips. Check back in November for November Bird Feeding Tips!
Citizen Science Projects in October: If you haven't already signed up for Project FeederWatch, now is the time to do so. The 2014-2015 FeederWatch season begins November 8 and ends April 3. You will receive a kit consisting of a welcome letter, a tally sheet, a bird feeding handbook, a FeederWatch event calendar, a bird poster, and instructional materials. Kits take about 3 weeks to arrive, so sign up today so you get your kit before the season starts! Another citizen science project is YardMap, also through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. YardMap goes year-round, so you can join anytime. It is also completely free, unlike FeederWatch, and if you have an account through FeederWatch, eBird, NestWatch, or another citizen science project, you can use that account to sign in to YardMap without creating another one. You can read more about YardMap here.
Featured Bird Species for October: This month's Featured Bird Species is the Black Skimmer. This bird's remarkable red and black bill sets it apart from all others. Don't confuse the Black Skimmer with the American Oystercatcher, however, who has a shorter, thinner, orange bill and is a smaller bird overall.
Featured Bird Book for October: This month's Featured Bird Book is For the Birds: A Month-by-Month Guide to Attracting Birds to Your Backyard by Anne Schmauss, Mary Schmauss, and Geni Krolick. This book is an extremely helpful guide to attracting birds to your backyard. Anne, Mary, and Geni are sisters and have been interested in birds since a young age. Geni owns the Albuquerque location of Wild Birds Unlimited, and Anne owns the Santa Fe location, along with Dawn Graber. I highly recommend For the Birds for anyone, beginners and experts alike.
Featured Bird Blog for October: This month's Featured Bird Blog is Bird Boy by Ethan, a young birder from Canada. Ethan has been blogging for a little more than a year, and has 279 species on his life list. I highly recommend his blog for anyone interested in birds, birding, and the natural world. You can visit his blog here:
Mystery Bird for October: This month's Mystery Bird is a large, iridescent purple-and-black perching bird. These social, long-legged birds can be found on suburban lawns, golf courses, fields, and marshes. The male's tail is almost as long as his body. Do you know what this bird is? Even if you don't, take a guess and leave it in the comments. There is no prize for getting the correct answer except being listed as a winner in the November Birding Fun post. So check back in November for the November Birding Fun post to see if you're a winner! One guess per person, please.
October Ask Me a Bird Question: Have a question about wild birds? Ask it in the comments! All questions will get answered via a reply to your comment, but only one will get answered in the November Birding Fun post for all to see! All kinds of wild bird questions are welcome, from a bird you saw and weren't sure what it was to bird behavior questions to how to keep ants from invading your hummingbird feeder. One question per person, please. If you have both a guess for the Mystery Bird and a bird question, then please say them all in one comment.