Want to learn more about birds in the region? Find out about the five species below and others at Idaho Fish and Game’s Migratory Bird Day event Saturday, May 10 at the Lewiston Wildlife Habitat Area next to their offices at 3316 16th St. ——— Bird mist nets will be up as early as 7 a.m. in hopes of catching birds that come into the habitat area for early morning feeding. Interactive learning activities and tours of the habitat area begin at 9 a.m. and go through 2 p.m. Visitors will learn about bird identification, feathers, beaks and bills, habitat, migration routes and why birds matter. At 2 p.m., vehicles will leave for Mann Lake for a guided birding tour. ——— Free hot dogs and soft drinks will be served while supplies last.
By MICHELLE SCHMIDT
“There are just a handful of birds that we see year-round,” said Jennifer Bruns, regional conservation educator for Idaho Fish and Game. And that includes those such as Canadian geese, that would normally migrate if it weren’t for the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley’s warmer temperatures.
Whether you’re watching out the window or on a springtime walk, keep an eye out for these returning migratory species, suggested by both Bruns and Dwight Kilgore, an avid bird watcher who manages the Lewiston Wildlife Habitat Area.
1. Pacific wren
Identification: Pacific wrens (previously called winter wrens) are a very small, dark brown bird with banded coloring and a short, upward cocked tail. Their song is a 10 to 15 second continuous stream of trills and chatters.
Where to find them: Because these birds primarily eat insects, you’ll tend to find them creeping quietly through tangled branches in wooded areas with fallen logs or dead wood.
2. Black-chinned hummingbird
Identification: Hummingbirds dart from place to place and have tiny bodies and long, pointed bills. Males have a black throat and females a light throat; both are metallic green on top and light-colored underneath.
Where to find them: You might hear the hum of their beating wings before you’re able to spot them. Hummingbirds live in a variety of habitats, from developed areas with trees and flowering shrubs to naturalized areas. They often perch on feeders or atop high, bare branches.
Tips for backyard feeding: Besides small insects, hummingbirds feed on nectar from flowers and sugar water from feeders, so include these in your backyard if you’d like them to visit.
3. Yellow warbler
Identification: These small yellow songbirds are easy to spot and identify. Females tend to be slightly less bright in color and their wings lack the brown banding of the males. Their song is bright and musical, comprised of several notes that accelerate over about a second.
Where to find them: Yellow warblers forage insects along branches of shrubs and small trees. Look for them in thick, shrubby areas, especially along water.
4. Black-capped chickadee
Identification: This tiny, almost round bird with a small bill has a black cap and chin, white cheeks and gray wings. They have a distinctive two-to-three note song.
Where to find them: You’ll see black-capped chickadees most anywhere where there are trees and shrubs. They tend to be active and curious, hoping from branch to branch as they look for insects to eat.
Tips for backyard feeding: These are one of the easiest birds to attract to a feeder with suet, sunflower and peanuts.
5. Red-winged blackbird
Identification: As the name suggests, the red-winged blackbird males are a glossy black with a red and yellow patch on their shoulder. Females are streaked with brown and white and resemble a large sparrow. They have a distinct call.
Where to find them: You’ll tend to find red-wing blackbirds near wetlands and water where they breed and eat insects, especially in the warmer months. Males sit atop cattails, fence posts, telephone wires and tree tops, calling out their distinctive song in order to get noticed by females.
Source: These facts are from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Ithaca, N.Y. More information and songs and calls for these and other species can be found at www.allaboutbirds.org