Wonderful Winter Birds
In This Issue
Berry Bushes for Birds
Jays Just Doin' Their Thing
Nestboxes for Flickers
Make the ID
Anna's Hummingbirds in Winter
Give Generously
Wildtones Streaming Nature Sounds Album
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  iPhone Ringtones
Popular iPhone Nature Ringtones 
Issue: #111
February/March 2019

Winter birding can sometimes be a colorful surprise.  While there are often fewer birds than in spring, those who hang in there are easier to see on leafless trees, but not so interesting in their drab overwintering plumage.  But waterfowl, hawks and owls are breeding around North America, and in  spectacular peak breeding plumage.  Where the temperature is more moderate, other birds like this slightly outrageously colored male Anna's Hummingbird (pictured above) who posed for me in a recent birding outing in California, are also in tip-top-shape and look stunning. And I was able to watch his high altitude loops and spirals designed to attract females.  Winter doesn't mean dull birding!  There is still color all around and lots of activity - get outside and don't miss it! 

Check out our newsletter this month:
  • choose the right native berry bushes for your backyard
  • find out  how jays are environmental engineers
  • watch some birdcams
  • help out a beautiful woodpecker with a declining population
  • learn to ID a couple of pretty red winter birds
  • find out what's going on with these beautiful Anna's Hummingbirds in winter
Visit us at  WildTones  for bird and wildlife ringtones, alerts and alarms for iPhones and Android, and our loopable streaming nature sounds for relaxation , sleep, mediation and lifestyle. 
Anna's Hummingbird
Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel
Berry-Important Bushes for Backyard Birds
Gray Catbird
Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel
It's time to plan your spring gardening.  Whether you are just starting a native plant garden or already have native plants in your yard, we have some ideas that can make your garden a bird magnet year round by providing food and shelter regardless of the season.  

Diversity is critical to providing the right habitat and year round food for birds and other wildlife, and fruit-bearing bushes are a year-round home run for birds. So, if you haven't yet planted any bushes that provide berries for the birds in your area, this spring make this a priority.

Jays Just Doin' Their Thing
California Scrub Jay
Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel
That mischievous Scrub or Blue Jay in your yard or neighborhood is not just a very attractive trouble-maker, but he or she is also an ecosystem engineer . Jays of all sorts around the world love to hide or "cache" seeds around their territory  - a behavior known as "scatter-hoarding." The idea is that when times are tough, the birds can go back and find a food cache for a meal. But many of these hidden seeds never get eaten, and sprout to form new trees from caches in all kinds of diverse areas  something the trees themselves count on for diversifying the forests.

Scientists have been looking for ways to harness jays' innate desire to cache seeds to get these birds to work on behalf of habitat restoration ...Read More...
Fraser Point Bald Eagle nestcam/explore.org
There is a lot to see right now -- owls setting up to nest, baby hummingbirds being fed, beautiful birds at the feeder in  Panama and more...  Enjoy them all! 

Fraser Point Bald Eagles  in Santa Cruz have 2 eggs - hatch watch starts March 16.

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird cam in California with a chick and another egg!  (see photo)
Panama Canopy Lodge fruit cam. - See the neotropical birds you dream about in real time. 

The Bermuda Cahows  on Nonsuch Island are still incubating that egg!

Long-eared Owls have a nest in Missoula, Montana.

Bella the Allen's Hummingbird  in California is rebuilding her nest after her chicks fledged.  Is an egg on the way? 
 Backyard Nest Boxes - Time to Get Started!

It's not too early to prepare for the nesting birds you want to attract to your yard during nesting season.  If you are interested in a DIY
Northern Flicker
Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel
project, here's one which helps  Northern Flickers.  Flickers are considered common birds, but are suffering a steep decline in population  due to  loss of habitat as dead trees they rely upon are taken down.  They also face increased  competition for nest holes  from introduced (and much more aggressive) European Starlings.

These beautiful woodpeckers are found year round from southern Central America north through the US, and they breed well into far northern Canada. These are great birds to have around as their primary food is ants and beetle larvae -- and they do a great job of keeping these insects under control.   If you live in an area where flickers breed, help this bird by providing a nestbox. 
Make the ID:  White-winged Crossbill vs Pine Grosbeak
These two red finches  both share a similar attraction to seeds.  
White-winged Crossbill
Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila
They also overlap in range, preferring the far north and into Canada, and sometimes telling the difference between them can be challenging. Here are a few  tips to make the right ID between these winter favorites --  White-winged Crossbills and  Pine Grosbeaks :

Pine Grosbeak
Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila

...
The North is Looking Good to Anna's Hummingbirds
Anna's Hummingbird
Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel
Tiny Anna's hummingbirds  are living farther and farther  north  during winter.  
How do they manage this? 

First,  available food with hummingbird feeders gives them the energy they need to help stave off the cold. And...there is a tried and true behavior
that hummingbirds through the Americas resort to when it gets chilly - torpor. 

Find out more from our friends at  BirdNote .
Help Support Wildlife and Animal Charities
WildTones supports a variety of wildlife and animal related charities. We recommend the following organizations and know them all personally.  We encourage you to consider giving a donation of any size and join us in helping the work they do.

The Alex Foundation
(Avian Cognition & Intelligence Research)
alex foundation
Audubon New York
(Bird Conservation in NY State)
(Global Bird Conservation)
International Crane Foundation
International Primate Protection League
(Gibbon and Primate Protection Worldwide)
Bill Jordan Wildlife Defense Fund (Protection of Wildlife Worldwide)
Oceanites (Antarctic Penguin Research)   Oceanites
The Roar Foundation
(Big Cats Rescue)

We thank
Stan Tekiela for his terrific bird and animal calls, our ringtones, and albums and his White-winged Crossbill and Pine Grosbeak images!
Deborah Rivel for her Anna's Hummingbird, Gray Catbird, California Scrub Jay and Northern Flicker images.
(c)  Wildsight Productions, Inc., 2019