Wild Things: Spring Birding to Heat Up Soon
Warm south winds will help to bring migrants north
by KEVIN NAZE, [email protected], Peninsula Pulse contributor
With the last blast of winter-like cold and snow behind us, it’s time to look forward to the best birding of the year.
Southerly winds and milder air will soon bring a large influx of colorful visitors to Kewaunee and Door counties. Ruby-throated hummingbirds, Baltimore and orchard orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, bluebirds and indigo buntings are among the most anticipated for their beauty, and gray catbirds and brown thrashers thrill with mimicking and extremely varied musical repertoires.
New to backyard birding? Now’s the perfect time to visit Havegärd Bird Feed Outlet or a farm-supply or country store to pick up feeders, seed and suet.
Black oil sunflower, safflower and nyger seed are perennial favorites, along with sugar water, orange slices and grape jelly. Unless you want to draw flocks of sparrows and other less desirable species, steer clear of cheap bags with fillers such as milo as well as mixes dominated by red millet and cracked corn.
Hummingbirds and orioles love sugar water. It’s best for the birds to mix your own blend instead of buying commercial mixes that have food coloring added. Use one part sugar and four parts water, blend to make sure it’s fully dissolved, then pour it into a colorful glass or plastic feeder. Some birders prefer to boil a large batch, then cool it to store in extra containers in the refrigerator.
A great place to pick up more tips and share photos and information is Wisconsin eBird at ebird.org/wi/home. While you’re there, you can also scour data from the past and check out current hot spots from around the state.
The Wisconsin Society of Ornithology (wsobirds.org) and Wisconsin Birding Network (freelists.org/list/wisbirdn) are also worth bookmarking, and the Department of Natural Resources’ website has many links on birding, including feeding tips, finding wild migrants and creating better habitat. Start at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/birding.html.
The Sturgeon Bay Bass Tournament is set for May 12-13 at Sawyer Park. Though it’s a weigh-on-the-water event, there will be plenty of action at the pavilion, including photos and video from the water, a silent auction and a tackle sale.
Learn more at sturgeonbaybasstournament.com, and get updates during the event at facebook.com/sturgeonbaybasstournament.
Then the 33rd Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament is set for May 19-20 at Sawyer Park, with weigh-ins and activities on the grounds. Find the details via a link at northamericanbasschallenge.com.
WI Women Fish
More than 30 women will be hitting the water Mother’s Day weekend for a WI Women Fish group outing on Green Bay.
Club president Barb Carey, who recently finished third in the Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament, said the goal of the event is to build confidence in female boaters by teaching them how to safely navigate and fish on a big body of water.
Eleven boaters and 21 co-anglers are registered for the May 12-14 event. It will start with a group seminar on trolling for walleyes, followed by learning about boat control and safety on big water. The nonboaters will learn about the role of a co-angler and the part they play in creating a smooth and successful outing. The rest of the weekend will be spent fishing.
If you’re a woman who loves to fish, Carey said you should consider a membership because participants improve their skills, increase their confidence and explore new species and waters. Learn more about membership and upcoming events at wiwomenfish.com.
13 New Pope and Young Club Records
Kewaunee’s Bucky Ihlenfeldt said it was an honor to be part of the measuring team that helped to qualify 13 new world records during the 33rd biennial convention of the Pope and Young Club in Reno, Nevada, last month. More than 180 awards were given, featuring some of the largest animals ever harvested with archery equipment. Learn more and see photos at pope-young.org/World-Records.
Weekly Water Levels
Lake Michigan and Green Bay water levels have risen six inches since late March, and they’re expected to rise three more inches by month’s end. As of April 28, levels were down four inches from a year ago, but they were still seven inches higher than the 100-year average.