by Carole Jorgensen
It’s Fall Migration. Ok, if you are a hummingbird, your southerly migration may have begun in late June. If you are one of several species of waterfowl, you might hang around until late December. The Fall Migration is much less distinct than Spring Migration, and flyways are less refined according to an article by Audubon (https://www.audubon.org/magazine/july-august-2009/fall-migration-hot-spots) Migrating birds probably cross every square mile of land and water in North America. So billions of migrants are spread across millions of square miles, and the magnitude of the passage often escapes our notice.
What can we do to help these critters on their journey? Artificial lights can cause much confusion to our feathered travelers, causing them to unnecessarily burn much-needed energy required to make their journeys of thousands of miles (often without eating en route). Enjoy the darkness of fall by turning off your yard lights, shutting your drapes at night, and let them navigate by the sun, moon and stars.
Also give them some opportunities to drink and bathe. Water is very important to help them on their way. For those of you who are not in bear country, consider providing some suet or fat-full seeds and nuts to help them build a food reserve for their flights that may take many days or weeks.
As always, plant some native vegetation to help all of our native critters and insects. Don’t forget the critters the birds depend on: Leave some standing or dead down wood, brush piles and bark mulch around your yard to provide over-wintering habitat for insects and other tasty critters.
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For those of you (hopefully ALL of you) who are tracking Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) issues:
The changes proposed under the previous Administration to weaken the MBTA were to take effect in March, 2021, but the current Administration proposed to set back those changes. Many court cases are whirling around these issues. A solution bill H.R.4833 called the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, was proposed and introduced in the House of Representatives by Alan Lowenthal of California. Little action has taken place since July, 2021. Consider nudging our Representative, Matt Rosendale, (DC Office Phone: 202-225-3211) to support this bill (https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/4833?s=1&r=15).