Store update: Winter freight delays

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Hello Wood Thrush Customers,

Due to the recent winter weather across the U.S. receiving freight has been a problem.  Our bird feed comes from Des Moines, IA and our truck load scheduled to be here yesterday has still not arrived as of today, Friday the 19th.  While we still have adequate quantities of some feeds we are very low, or out of others.  You may want to call first to see if we have your choice of feed if you intend to visit us today or tomorrow.  Sorry for the inconvenience and we’ve been assured our load of seed will arrive Monday the 22nd.  

Bird Bio: Orange Crowned Warbler

In the recent wintery weather did you see anything “different” at your feeders?  Just yesterday, Jan. 17, I noticed something different at a tube feeder with a variety of Wood Thrush Shop blends.  What caught my eye was a bird smaller than a Goldfinch that moved differently than the other birds.  It was quicker as it moved among the branches to the feeder, and it was by itself.  I then keyed in on the color which was more greenish-yellow than Goldfinches.  Looking through my binoculars that I keep by the window where I watch birds it became clear I had an Orange-crowned Warbler.  And it was the first recorded in my yard.  I got a little video to share with you although the quality isn’t great. 

The Orange-crowned warbler measures about 4 ½” in length and has no wing bars or distinctive marks.  It’s olive-green to gray above, and yellow-green below.  Looking through binoculars you may notice faint streaks on the breast.  The orange on the crown is barely visible and seldom seen.  They are primarily insect eaters but in this kind of weather they can adapt to small bits of seed and fruit. 

Other birds of note during the snowy weather are the Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Fox sparrow, Hermit Thrush, Eastern Bluebird (eating suet and mealworms), and Red-winged blackbirds.

Always be extra vigilante during winter weather for the more unusual birds.  They notice the additional bird traffic at feeders and follow in to investigate.

Bird Bio: Ring-billed Gull

Adult Ring-billed Gull

Adult Ring-billed Gull

Recent questions about “seagulls” from a few observant customers inspired this blog.  We were asked “why are seagulls here in TN”?  Gulls are a large diverse family of birds in North America and, in fact, there is not one named “seagull”.  Most everybody refers to them as such because they go to the beach and coastal areas and see gulls and that’s what they call them. 

Some species of gulls are mostly pelagic, meaning relating to, or living or occurring in the open sea. Other species of gulls frequent coastal waters or inland lakes and wetlands.  So, to see gulls on any of the lakes or rivers in the area is completely normal.  In winter more uncommon species of gulls may be seen as they get pushed down by cold temperatures north of here.  It is quite common to see gulls flying about in the parking area of Walmart and Lowes on Charlotte Pike because the Cumberland River is just a short distance from there.  Gulls are adept scavengers and frequently find discarded food items in parking areas.

In general male gulls are larger than females, which is the opposite of raptors, for example, where females tend to be larger. 

There are at least six gulls that can be seen in TN.  The Ring-billed and Bonaparte’s gulls are the most common and regularly seen.   Laughing, Herring’s, Franklins, and Lesser Black-backed gulls are less common and irregular.  

Ring-billed Gull

Adult Ring-billed Gulls are medium sized, have a white head and tail, and underparts are white, too.

The back and upper wings are light gray, and the wingtips are black with white spots. The adult's legs and eyes are yellow, and the bill is yellow with a black ring near the tip. They are about 18” in length with a wingspan of nearly 4 feet.  Like many gulls, it takes 3 years for a Ring-billed Gull to reach adult plumage.

“Ring-bills” are primarily an inland nesting gull that frequents garbage dumps, parking lots, and southern coastal beaches in large numbers during the winter

It is Tennessee's most common wintering gull arriving in late September and departing by early May.

Bird Bio: Cedar Waxwing

In winter here in middle-Tennessee you are likely to see a flock of these beautiful birds as they descend on a berry laden tree or shrub, and strip it clean of its fruit before moving on to the next supply of berries, or birdbath opportunity.

Cedar waxwings are predominantly in middle-Tennessee during the winter months roaming about in small to large flocks devouring berries and taking over birdbaths.  They are distinguished by the crest on the head, black mask, soft brown and yellow plumage, and the yellow band on the tail, as if it’s been dipped in yellow paint. Present but not easily seen, unless you are looking through binoculars, are the red tips near the end of the wings.  They are slightly smaller than a Cardinal.

Because they are so unpredictable in their comings and goings it is hard to offer them anything in the way of food.  Having the types of plants that produce berries and providing a water source are the keys to attracting this elegant bird.  It is an uncommon resident of Tennessee outside of the winter months. 

Cedar Waxwings have actually been known to get drunk on berries that have begun fermenting.  Cold temperatures concentrate the sugar in fruit, and then a temperature increase accelerates the speed at which the sugars break down.  The alcohol that forms is more potent than what would normally come from fermented berries-sort of like vodka instead of beer.  They will binge on the berries until tipsy and actually have difficulty flying straight, or in some cases stumbling around on the ground.  The likelihood of hitting windows in flight increases as well.  The reflective window decals we have at the store are quite effective at reducing window hits.  If you experience a drunken bird in your yard you could help the bird by collecting it in a box with some soft bedding and let it sleep off the effects in a quiet place.  Usually a bird will recuperate in a couple hours.

Great Holiday Gift Ideas

The Wood Thrush Shop has some great gift ideas for the birder and nature fanatic in your family ranging from $3 and up. We're ready to help any way we can. Take a look at some gift ideas below and stop by and see John, Jamie, Eli, and Nathan. The Wood Thrush shop will be open from 10am to 2:30pm Sunday the 24th. Tuesday the 26th we will resume regular hours from 10am to 5:30pm. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Gift certificates are available for any amount.

Field guides on birds, bugs, butterflies, and wildflowers.

Nikon Binoculars.

 

Nesting Boxes for Bluebirds, Chickadees, Wrens, Screech owls, Ducks, and we even have Bat Houses.

Squirrel Buster bird feeders make great first feeders. They feed all the birds and discourage the squirrels all in one package.

 

Mr Bird Seed ornaments.

We have bird ornaments of all kinds.

Wind chimes 

 

All Types of birdbaths and accessories. 

Seed always makes a great gift and we have tons.

 

Whats Christmas without a fresh pair of socks. 

T-shirts!

Hummingbird feeders are great for the birder in your family.

 

2018 bird calendars including two made by local artists.

Nature inspired drink coasters.

 

BeeGlow tea candle lanterns.

Mail box covers.

Key Hiders. 

Fountains

Canvas Totes.

Metal animal sculpture.

Puzzles for the birder in your family.

Hand carved stone owls make great garden accents.