*lf you have not yet subscribed to Birding News Survey, don't hesitate any longer.
This quarterly magazine reprints Interesting articles from birding newsletters of
all parts of the country. You will find identification aids, bird finding spots,
equipment suggestions, field techniques, etc. Subscription: $6.00, payable to
Avian Publications, Inc., PO Box 310, Ellzabethtown, KY 42701
*A bimonthly magazine you may find Interesting is Bird Watcher's Digest, with some
reprints and some new articles, all on birds or some facet of bird watching. The
November-December issue contains an article "Bronzed Cowbird Debuts In Mississippi"
by Judith A. Toups, in which OG member Malcolm Hodges (a Rice Univertsty student
soon to graduate) is given the honor of spotting the first Bronzed Cowbird in his
home state of Mississippi. We predict you will enjoy this magazine which is beginning its second year of publication. Subscription: $7.50, payable to Bird Watcher's
Digest, P.O. Box 110, Marietta, OH 45750.
* Consider a membership in Cornel I Laboratory of Ornithology. The Laboratory Is almost wholly independent of Cornell University financially, and depends on memberships, grants and gifts to maintain and improve the Laboratory's research and public
education programs (home study courses, seminars, exhibits, producing records of
bird songs and calls for learning and pleasure, Interpreting avian research through
the annual, The Living Bird and the Newsletter +o Members, and more). Supporting
membership Is $25 a year, family membership Is $30. This Is a concrete way in which
you can demonstrate your interest in bird research. In addition to contributing to
the Laboratory's programs, each member will receive a subscription to the quarterly
Newsletter and the annual publication. The Living Bird, as well as the privilege of
a 15 percent discount on all Items purchased from the Laboratory's book shop. Send
your remittance, payable to Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University,
159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850.
Following Is a report on a bit of research, the results of which may prove beneficial to the wallets of you bird feeders.
From the Fall 1979 Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Newsletter....Sunflower Seeds
Studied. In recent winters another kind of sunflower seed In addition to the familiar white-striped variety has become available to consumers for use as wild bird
food. Smaller and all-black, they are called oilseeds by agriculturists who specialize in raising and selling sunflower seeds. They have been offered at lower prices
than the white-striped seeds: In the Ithaca, New York area, the more familiar type
sold for $17.50 to $22.90 per 50 pounds last winter, while the oilseeds were offered
at $8.99 to $9.35 per 50 pounds about half the price. Since the savings can be
significant, how acceptable are the oilseeds to birds at feeders? Last February and
March, Cornell undergraduate biology major Christine Miller set out to answer that
question as part of a class project, working under the direction of Dr. Charles
Smith at the Laboratory of Ornithology.
Birds visiting the feeding stations at the Laboratory were offered a choice of the
two varieties, presented slde-by-side in Identical feeders. Chris monitored seed
consumption by weighing the amounts of seeds of each type taken by all birds which
visited the feeders, as well as observing and recording directly which type was
taken most frequently by a given species. During the period of observation, species
which visited the feeders Included the Black-capped Chickadee, American Goldfinch,
White-breasted Nuthatch, Blue Jay and Tufted Titmouse.
At the end of Chris's study, there was a clear preference by weight for the off seeds
over the white-striped seeds. A greater amount of the oilseeds was taken, when compared statistically with the amount of the white-striped seeds consumed. Blacx-
capped Chickadees chose to take more than three times as many oilseeds.
In addition to costing less, the oilseeds have other advantages. Approximately 10%
of their weight is kernel, while the white-striped variety is only about 57? kernel
by weight. Thus, for an equivalent mass of whole seeds, there is more consumable
kernel and less wasted shell. Also, since the fat content of the oilseeds is higher,
there is greater potential energy value (calories). Experimental evidence from
other studies indicates that feeder birds tend to choose those seeds which have
higher caloric value in cold weather. Therefore, where they are commercially available as a wild bird food, the oilseeds seem to be the better choice: they offer
more edible matter at a lower price and appear to be preferred by the birds.
LThe Editor would like to hear from you bird feeders about the availability and
price of these sunflower oilseeds on the UTC, so that we can report In nexf month's