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Steeves/Trail Mix: You can help out while enjoying the birds
As the nights get cooler and even sunny days fail to reach summer temperatures any longer, there is good news mixed in with that longing for summer to continue.
For one, these are delightful temperatures in which to do a little hiking as I did with some friends from out of town over the long weekend, to make room for a bit more turkey.
The trails in Rose Valley Regional Park are in really good shape now that the regional district has made some repairs, installed benches with panoramic views out over the lake far below and added a path that zigzags up the steep hill from the pond instead of taking you straight up.
While that may be a terrific cardio workout for some, for others it could just lead straight to emergency.
As well, in the coming weeks those pesky bruins should be headed into winter slumber, allowing us to re-fill the bird feeders without luring them into the yard with the smell of calorie-rich sunflower seeds.
While I do count the feeder birds in my circle of pets, I refuse to include the bears and I'm of two minds about the deer. I think overall I'd prefer they stick to noshing on wild plants and being startled when I spot them in the bush over the insolent attitude I get when I interrupt them chowing down on my rose buds and tomatoes.
Once it's safe again to encourage feeder birds to come for dinner, you might wish to help out with bird research and conservation at the same time.
Join Project FeederWatch and share information about the birds visiting your feeders between November and April to help scientists at Bird Studies Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology track bird numbers and movements.
The 27th season of the project begins Nov. 9. Just count the numbers and kinds of birds at your feeders and enter the information on the FeederWatch website or on printed forms.
With your help, the data gathered makes a powerful tool for detecting and explaining gradual changes in wintering ranges for many species of birds.
To register, call 1-888-448-2473 or go to the website at: www.birdscanada.org/pfw.html
There's a $35 fee to enrol, which includes your membership and four issues of BirdWatch Canada magazine, educational materials, a calendar, instruction and data book, results, articles and answers to bird questions.
Ironically, my other pet is a big orange tabby who has stressed me out the past couple of months by going off his feed, quite literally. (He's not permitted outside so he and the birds enjoy a relationship divided by a glass wall.)
Ginger has finally come to his senses after some serious vet-tending by a colleague Capital News columnist, Dr. Moshe Oz of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital, who has to be one of the most caring vets I've ever run into in a lifetime of pet ownership.
Thank goodness for such a great professional in our community.
Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.