PETE’S TIPS PETE’S TIPS
BY PETE DUNNE
You’ve probably noticed that
birds are not everywhere all the
time. Birds respond to conditions that relate to seasons and
weather. Knowing what factors
motivate bird distribution goes
a long way toward having a productive day afield or an unproductive one.
One fundamental truism has
to do with food: Birds go where
the food is. If you are a hawk
or an owl whose diet is rodent-centric, you will concentrate
where rodent populations are
high. Rodent populations are
Bird the Conditions
cyclic, so years of high rodent
and raptor numbers may not
be followed by similar years.
But let’s say you are interested
in finding wintering long-eared
and short-eared owls. A good
trick is to search for grasslands
that seem to be supporting large
numbers of rodent-feeding
diurnal raptors such as American kestrel, red-tailed hawk,
and northern harrier.
During fall shorebird migration (June through September),
drought-stricken lakes and reservoirs are sure to attract south-
A male Blackburnian warbler
forages in a box elder.