Saturday, December 2, 2023

Fat, happy birds make pit stop at feeders before journeying south

Carolina Wren and Downy Woodpecker

Looks like we will finally be getting some snow. Tug Hill is getting more than their share, being downwind from the big, open Lake Ontario. Depending on which way the wind blows, we could get a
good shot of the white stuff. Just yesterday, [Nov. 27] we had the ground white followed by rain at 28 degrees, making for a mess. That wet stuff doesn’t like to be blown or plowed. Luckily the driveway is frozen, so I don’t blow away some of the crushed stone along with the snow.

Over the weekend, [Nov. 24-26] the town [Inlet] was full of people…just about like the Fourth of July. The shops were full of buyers and the restaurants [were] full of guests. The Inlet tree lighting went off without a hitch with JoAnn and Gordie Rudd doing the honors. I saw Gregg Rudd going into the town hall with a box full of the famous Rudd Santa Claus cookies. Looking at the crowd entering the hall, they were not going to last very long. I can still remember my children getting those cookies at the Christmas get-togethers at the fire hall, now the library, and then at the new town hall.


The big thing in nature this week was the oil spill of over one million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico. There was a break in the 67-mile pipeline from the Gulf to the coast and it hadn’t been located yet. This is a time when lots of the migrating water birds from the north go to the Gulf for their winter home. There are lots of shore birds that live along this coast year-round, and some are even nesting currently. Not too much is seen on the local news shows, but if you look online, the pictures of the wildlife affected are not good. Besides the birds, the sea turtles that must come up for air and seals (some with young) [were] covered with oil. Online this line carried one sixth of the oil production for the country, so you can see how the oil companies will use this to increase the price you see at the pump and on heating oil.

Tree lighting in Inlet

Tree lighting in Inlet. Photo by Gary Lee.

At my feeders, many of the birds have moved south. They make a day or two stop over for a snack and then move on during the next couple of nights. Just this week, I had several Slate-Colored Juncos, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskins, and one Carolina Wren. They all seemed fat and happy and getting plenty to eat, but without any wild food in the area they decided to head south. My friend and Master Bander, Gordon Howard, down in South Carolina said that the Robins had just arrived along with the Cedar Waxwings in his area. He still has leaves on his trees, so he isn’t banding right now as he would be just catching falling leaves.


My son told me some stories (that should scare anyone) of hunters using tree stands. A lady customer told him her husband had fallen from his tree stand and that he was paralyzed for life from the fall. The stand was icy from freezing rain, and he had no safety harness attached to him when he fell. Just two weeks earlier, another relative had fallen from his tree stand and he had broken both legs from his fall. Last year, falls from tree stands were more dangerous than accidents from guns in the hunting world. Anyone using a tree stand, should have a static line from the stand to the ground that they are hooked into from the ground to the stand while climbing. Then when in the stand, they need to be hooked from their body harness solidly to the tree in their stand. I’ve never been in a tree stand as I would probably fall asleep and fall out or get caught by my harness. So, be careful out there and buckle up…just like you do in your vehicle.


This is the last week of big game hunting in the Northern Zone, some sections are still open to muzzleloading, but that’s another story. See ya.


Photo at top: Carolina Wren and Downy Woodpecker. Photo by Gary Lee.

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Gary lives with his wife, Karen, at Eight Acre Wood in Inlet where he was the Forest Ranger for 35 years, working in the Moose River Wild Forest Recreation Area and West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area. Now retired, Gary works summers for the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, observing, catching and banding loons. The author of a column Daybreak to Twilight in local papers from 1986 to 2019, he now writes his Outdoor Adventures a weekly blog. In 2008, Gary coauthored a book with John M.C. “Mike” Peterson, "Adirondack Birding- 60 Great Places to Find Birds."

3 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Great to see a Carolina Wren! I usually manage to see one or two traveling through in the Fall. They don’t stay long. None yet this year though. On a sadder note, about 5 years ago I managed to kill one. As you know, they are very curious. On this particular day, my garage door was open as is often the case. When I went to close the door in the evening, I found a dead CW in one of my mouse traps! I was crushed. One usually doesn’t think to protect birds from mousetraps, but I do now.

    When I hunted, I never used tree stands because I assumed I would fall one way or another. But I never was an archery hunter. Be SAFE out there!

  2. The Gulf of Mexico pipeline leak and subsequent shutdown resulted in a 3% reduction of output for the Gulf of Mexico, not one sixth of the output for the entire US.

    That’s not to say that this incident will not cause an immediate rise in gas and oil prices. As everyone knows when there is a disruption in oil production companies immediately start to ship the more expensive oil via multimillion dollar hypersonic missiles to service stations and heating oil companies, where it arrives in minutes. By contrast when oil prices fall the less expensive oil is loaded a bucket at a time into old rusty barges that are allowed to drift at the mercy of the tides and currents until they ground on US shores. From there they are unloaded, again a bucket at a time, onto old lame donkeys that hobble to the service stations and oil companies. Then the price comes back down, but not to what it was before, as they must account for the time and cost of changing the signs and feeding the donkeys.

  3. David Gibson says:

    We are lucky to have you around, Gary, always connecting us to the birds’ borderless world, the mother ship. It’s leaking.

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