FEEDERWATCH- Winter Birds

Bird watchers in some of the coldest parts of the country are making sure that their bird feeders are well stocked as they keep a record of their avian visitors. It’s all part of an effort to learn more about non-migrating birds, and how these hearty animals manage to survive through the winter. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

“Generally speaking, these are smallish birds. But even these small birds have to eat an enormous amount during the day, close to their body weight.”

John Fitzpatrick is Director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and a participant in Cornell’s annual Project Feederwatch which collects information about non-migrating birds from volunteers all over country.

“One kind of bird is the kind that finds food that’s hidden year round. You can think of woodpeckers as the best example of that. What’s a woodpecker eat? Mostly it’s going in to dead wood and finding insects that are hidden there, spending the winter there as larvae or as pupae. So a woodpecker doesn’t need to migrate south to find its food. It’s just sitting there stored in the dead wood throughout the forest. All of these birds are well covered in feathers and they can actually change the degree of protection that they get from their feathers simply by moving the angle of feather out. Most birds that spend the winter in the north eat a fairly large amount of plant food, seeds, as well as small insects. So they’re looking for really tiny things and consequently they have to eat all day long. This is one of the reasons, of course, that bird feeders are so successful at giving people good views of birds because they supply an endless source of very high nutrient food and so they bring the birds in very quickly from the surrounding areas.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

FEEDERWATCH- Winter Birds

A variety of adaptations keep non-migrating birds warm and well-fed throughout the northeastern winter.
Air Date:03/03/1999
Scientist:
Transcript:

Bird watchers in some of the coldest parts of the country are making sure that their bird feeders are well stocked as they keep a record of their avian visitors. It's all part of an effort to learn more about non-migrating birds, and how these hearty animals manage to survive through the winter. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

"Generally speaking, these are smallish birds. But even these small birds have to eat an enormous amount during the day, close to their body weight."

John Fitzpatrick is Director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and a participant in Cornell's annual Project Feederwatch which collects information about non-migrating birds from volunteers all over country.

"One kind of bird is the kind that finds food that's hidden year round. You can think of woodpeckers as the best example of that. What's a woodpecker eat? Mostly it's going in to dead wood and finding insects that are hidden there, spending the winter there as larvae or as pupae. So a woodpecker doesn't need to migrate south to find its food. It's just sitting there stored in the dead wood throughout the forest. All of these birds are well covered in feathers and they can actually change the degree of protection that they get from their feathers simply by moving the angle of feather out. Most birds that spend the winter in the north eat a fairly large amount of plant food, seeds, as well as small insects. So they're looking for really tiny things and consequently they have to eat all day long. This is one of the reasons, of course, that bird feeders are so successful at giving people good views of birds because they supply an endless source of very high nutrient food and so they bring the birds in very quickly from the surrounding areas."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.