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. 



2018 Application Period For Peregrine Falcon Trapping For Falconry Usage To Begin July 1

The 2018 application period for the trapping of a peregrine falcon to be used in falconry will begin July 1, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced. The number of permits to be allowed for the taking of peregrine falcons to be used in falconry has increased from one to five in 2018 as announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The TWRA will award the ... (click for more)

Asian Carp Harvest Incentive Program Planned For Fall 2018

In an effort to combat to the invasive Asian carp species, a commercial harvest incentive program will be developed in the fall of 2018. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s request of $500,000 budget expansion from the Marine Fuel Tax Fund was approved at the May meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission. This will provide two years of funding for the program. ... (click for more)

Voters May Decide In November On Whether To Eliminate City Court; Paving Fund Also Considered

Chattanooga voters in November may get to vote on whether City Court should be abolished. City Council members indicated during budget talks on Tuesday that may be an upcoming referendum question. Councilman Jerry Mitchell said he, for one, "would vote to eliminate it." However, he said the court would apparently run through 2021 when the eight-year terms of Judges Sherry ... (click for more)

Shelbyville Cabinet Maker Wins $2 Million In Lottery

Twice was nice for a lucky Shelbyville man, who won big the second time he played Powerball. Matthew Reed, a cabinet maker, won $2 million on Saturday.  “It’s just the second time I’ve played, and I only bought two tickets,” said Mr. Reed, who came to the Tennessee Lottery’s Nashville headquarters office with his grandparents Monday to collect the prize. And because he added ... (click for more)

Never Replacing Claude Ramsey But Following His Example

When Claude made his decision not to seek reelection as the 26th District state representative I made my intention known to seek the office following him.  Immediately opponents from both parties began to qualify for that opportunity.  With Bill Bennett as my campaign manager and many of Claude’s supporters going door to door into the community, as Claude had done in his ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Participation Trophies

You may remember several years back when James Harrison, a linebacker for the Steelers at the time, came home to discover his two sons, who were then ages 8 and 6, had received “participation trophies” on a sports team. Harrison, who earned his way into the NFL (he was not drafted out of Kent State yet played in five Pro Bowls), promptly loaded his sons and the bogus trophies in ... (click for more)