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Listener Concern About Wild Birds Addressed by Bird Watcher's Digest Editor
Posted on: 02/12/2014
By  Mike Cullums
 
A listener called WMOA News yesterday to express concern about how the area’s wild birds are coping with this extended period of ice and snow cover.
 
To address the concern, we turned to Dawn Hewitt, managing editor for Bird Watcher’s Digest and Watching Backyard Birds, published here in Marietta.
 
“I’ve been a birder since 1978 and I’m an avid bird feeder at home,” she explains.
 
Hewitt says there is no need to be overly concerned about the health and welfare of wild birds.
 
“Birds have evolved to survive really harsh winters like we’re experiencing now, and even worse. Strong birds will survive on their own. Even so, it’s kind of charitable to help them out when we can.”
 
Hewitt says one of the best ways to help birds in cold weather is to sit out some fresh water every day.
 
“Also, I provide suet and other high-energy foods. You can put peanut butter out, too, as long as it doesn’t have any artificial ingredients. Anything that provides energy is good for them, and they will show their appreciation by coming close to your house, so you enjoy their beautiful colors and sounds throughout the winter.”
 
We asked the Bird Watcher’s Digest editor about this winter’s visitors from the Arctic Circle – snowy owls. Dawn says there have been at last 150 sightings of the majestic owls in Ohio, but none that she's aware of in the Marietta area.  
 
But, she says, we are graced with an abundance of bald eagles this winter.
 
“We have lots of eagles! They migrate as far south as they have to in order to find open water, so there are quite a few of them along the Muskingum River, and the Ohio as well.”
 
(A longtime WMOA listener called the station recently to report that he counted 17 eagles in the vicinity of Devol’s Dam on the Muskingum, five miles upriver from Marietta).
 
Hewitt reminds us that bald eagles do not form their distinctive white heads until they are fully mature at around age five. A number of those around Devol’s Dam and other fishing spots are the equivalent of teenage eagles.  
 
A wealth of information can be found at BirdWatchersDigest.com
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