Cold Snap Will Be A Killer For Birds, Group Warns

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

American Bird Conservancy (ABC), one of the nation’s leading bird conservation groups, is reminding people that we’re not the only ones suffering in the cold gripping much of the nation. This weather can be deadly to birds, some of which are being driven farther south than normal in search of open water and sources of food.

“Birds can survive the kind of severe weather we are seeing, but only if they get needed food and water,” said Dr. Daniel Lebbin, a conservation biologist at ABC. “Their ability to stay warm in frigid temperatures requires them to eat sufficient food.” Putting out extra food on bird feeders and on the ground, including suet and fruit for birds that don’t normally eat seeds, can make the difference between life and death for some birds.

Dr. Lebbin said that an ice-free water supply is also critical and often attracts birds that don’t visit feeders. “Water is just as important as food, if not more so. By providing warm water frequently, or installing a bird-bath heater, people can help the birds out substantially during severe weather events,” he noted.

Weather events such as what is being experienced now are not unusual, Dr. Lebbin added, and are not expected to significantly affect wild bird populations. However, he added that taking steps to mitigate the expected mortality on birds is something his organization is routinely asked about when the weather breaks bad.

“People care about birds and other wildlife in this country. We get calls all the time from people wanting to know what they can do to protect our wildlife. Right now, there is a greater sense of urgency,” he said.

Waterfowl are affected greatly when the water bodies they depend on freeze over. In response, birds such as ducks, geese, swans, and mergansers normally escape such danger by traveling further south to find ice-free water. Ground-feeding birds such as cardinals and sparrows are also affected when snow covers the ground and stays in place, reducing available food resources. Prairie-chickens, on the other hand, will dive into deep snow where they can keep much warmer unexposed to colder surface temperatures and wind chill. Kinglets will huddle together at night to keep warm. These tiny birds are able to more efficiently conserve heat by crowding together.

“The impacts of the intense cold are complex, but there is no question that there will be mortality for birds and other wildlife. It is a part of nature. How much mortality will be a function of the intensity of the freeze, how long it lasts, and the birds’ condition. Providing food and water might help some birds better survive this deep chill,” he said.

“Homeowners can also plant native trees and shrubs in their gardens that will provide food and shelter to wild birds year-round. Plants that bear fruit or provide seeds in the winter are an especially helpful resource to birds,” added Dr. Lebbin. 


Crabtree Farms Fall Plant Sale And Festival Is Sept. 9-10

Crabtree Farms fall plant sale and festival celebrates the abundance fall and winter gardens can provide.  The sale takes place Saturday, Sept. 10, from 9 a.m-4 p.m. with a member’s preview sale on Friday, Sep.t 9.   The event provides garden enthusiasts with an opportunity to purchase vegetable, fruit, herb and flower starts for the fall planting season.    ... (click for more)

TWRA Emphasizes Boating Safety Ahead Of Labor Day Weekend

The Labor Day holiday, the final major weekend of the 2016 summer boating season is Sept. 2-5. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wants to emphasize the use of life jackets while boating in a safe and responsible manner. The TWRA wants all those who visit the waterways to have an enjoyable time. However, TWRA officers will be on the watch for dangerous boating behavior, ... (click for more)

2 Officers Testify That Miller Sped Toward Them In Vehicle; Woman Describes Frightening Carjacking

Two Chattanooga Police officers testified Tuesday that James Bryan Miller drove an SUV directly toward them, and both said they expected to be hit in an Aug. 1 incident in which Miller at one point drove north in the southbound lanes of I-75. Investigator Ty Cooper said he was bracing to have Miller ram into his police vehicle in reverse at a house on Watts Avenue, but he said ... (click for more)

Committee To Try To Reach Consensus On The Location Of The Planned Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center

In partnership with Chattanooga City Councilman Jerry Mitchell and Retired Major General Bill Raines, the Medal of Honor Heritage Center on Tuesday announced the formation of a special ad hoc committee that will develop a list of consensus recommendations for the proposed Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center. The committee, which is composed of local business ... (click for more)

Proud To Be A Conservative Conservationist

I was born and raised in Chattanooga and was brought up to be a Tennessee conservative. That means that my family conserved our spending, our resources, and yes, even our environment.  I think we were inspired to do so because Tennessee is one of the most beautiful places in the entire United States. We have stunning mountains, wild rivers and quiet backcountry. And many of ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Adore America

If Heather Cross weren’t married and didn’t have such a fine-looking family I’d swear I might propose. The dazzling lady just wrote a “By Gumbo! letter” to all the major news outlets in the world to inform them that half of the Pelican State is still submerged by “a 1,000-year flood” and where the heck are they with their cameras? She knows it is vital for the rest of America to ... (click for more)