by Noel Pettingell
10 YEARS AGO/FROM NOV. 1979 SPOONBILL
"Notes from a Compulsive Bird Feeder
by Anne B. Speers
"A continual feeding program...does three things:
lures the birds to strategic spots where they can be
easily viewed, provides for a much denser population
than nature would otherwise allow, and thirdly this
large resident population tends to attract migrants
to our neck of the woods—again, a convenience for
a lazy birdwatcher.
"Our feeding program goes on year around.
Feeders are located on both sides and to the rear
of the house. There are eight permanent feeders
plus eight more 'stations' where peanut butter/suet
mix is offered, plus two ground-feeding areas, and
3 plain suet feeders. This may sound excessive, but
one of the primary things I've learned is that a
LITTLE feed placed in many spots and in different
types of feeders, will attract far more birds than
a lot of feed in one or two spots. The big advantage to this type of feeding is that it prevents a
few dominant, aggressive species from crowding out
the more timid, retiring species. Most of these
feeders are close to dense cover, with one feeding
'yard' area in more open circumstances for ground
"This feeding program has resulted in about 20
to 25 species seen daily at our -feeders during winter_
months and about 20 in the summer. Of these about
10 are year-round nesting species. This means, as
individual birds, well into the hundreds visit us daily.
Besides sparrows (house) and starlings, the one
bird I do not encourage is the mockingbird. He will
not only chase away all mockers, but every other
bird in the area if he can. If this happens I simply
keep increasing the feeding spots until it is physically
impossible for him to patrol them all, and he usually
leaves in frustration...We have had a total of 75
species utilizing our feeders and/or bird bath."
BUFFALO BAYOU CBC NEEDS FEEDER WATCHERS
The Buffalo Bayou CBC, the only count within
Houston, is centered on Audubon's E. L. Moore Sanctuary; it extends from Memorial Park on the east
to beyond Highway 6 on the west, and from the
Southwest Freeway at West Belt on the south to
FM 529 near Jersey Village on the north. If you
can't join the count in the field, please help count
birds at your feeder or while running errands if you
are within the circle. So much of the circle is residential that some species like hummingbirds will be
missed without help from residents. No fee is required of feeder watchers, and you don't need a lot
of birding experience. If you are a resident of the
circle or have a friend who could help please call
Doug Williams (681-8433) or Bob Honig (665-6963).
Buffalo Bayou CBC is on December 23.
MINUTES OF OG MEETING, NOV. 7
In preparation for Christmas Bird Counts, Peter
Gottschling presented the novices with instructions
on how to write up a rare bird report. This proved
to be an excellent introduction to the evening's program detailing physical features of a bird.
Richard Uzar called the meeting to order at
7:30 p.m. John Buckman announced that the field
trip to Welder refuge had been canceled due to lack
of interest. A field trip to Sheldon Lake State Park
will be held November 18, and we will help towards
a checklist for the park.
Jerry Patrick gave the treasurer's report and
also encouraged people to attend the Rockport trip
in January. OG members were asked to fill in
Clearing House reports on field trips*
Rene Franks posted the entries in the OG business card contest. Those at the meeting voted
Richard formally invited all OG members to
participate in the Houston CBC on December 16,
which is sponsored by the OG. Arch Dillard is looking for boats for the Galveston CBC the day after
Christmas. Call him at (713) 996-0107 if you have
a boat and can help out. Lee Richardson announced
that Lane's A Birder's Guide to Florida was donated
to our library by Mike Austin.
In appreciation for the printing of our new
checklist by Phillips Petroleum, two plaques made
by Ed Rozenburg were presented. Mark McElroy
accepted the awards for himself and Philip Caudill,
who had been called out of town in relation to last
month's explosion at the Phillips plant.
Good bird sightings were announced; the most
notable was the Ringed Kingfisher at Brazos Bend
SP, the first sighting on the UTC.
Joan Walker invited all OG members to an
Earth and Sky Nature Awareness workshop at the
Museum of Natural History on November 18.
Ted Eubanks presented the program, "Bird
Topography." Ted instructed the group in proper
terminology for the parts of a bird, and emphasized
the need to clarify reports for the CH and CBC's.
He led the group through a series of slides detailing
the parts of the head, torso, wings, legs and feet.
He cautioned us against using vague words like "long"
or "big". Instead one should measure in relation
to another part of the bird.
Kathy DeFord, Secretary
YOUR ORNITHOLOGY GROUP NEEDS:
1. IBM or IBM compatible computer to help
OG and Spoonbill Editorial Staff in publication of
The Spoonbill. If you are upgrading or have a spare,
consider a Christmas gift to the OG and yourself
(you take the tax write-off). Contact Richard Uzar.
2. Publishing software to go with above.
3. Involvement of OG member to work with public
relations professional in advertisement of OG events.
Opportunity to learn public relations techniques,
meet local public officials while aiding the OG in
gaining recognition on the Upper Texas Coast. Contact Richard Uzar for details.