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Wild Bird Winter Feeding – Deb

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10. Black-oil sunflower seeds. Black-oil sunflower kernels have a higher fat content than striped sunflower seeds, and so make a great winter diet staple. Striped sunflower is still fine, and evening grosbeaks, cardinals, jays, and other big-billed birds may even prefer it slightly, but black-oil sunflower seed is better at attracting a wide variety of birds to your winter feeder. Hulled sunflower seeds, aka sunflower hearts, provide a no-mess option.

9. Peanuts. Shelled (which means without a shell), dry-roasted, and unsalted peanuts provide protein and fat, so they’re a great fuel for birds in winter. Birds love peanut butter, too—just avoid brands that contain partially hydrogenated oil, aka trans fat. Be warned, though, that squirrels love peanuts in any form.

8. Suet. For birds in winter, fat is an excellent source of energy. Commercial suet blocks are available wherever birdseed is sold.

7. Good mixed seed. Good mixed seed has a large amount of black-oil sunflower seed, cracked corn, white proso millet, and perhaps some peanut chips, sunflower hearts, and dried fruit.

6. Nyjer/thistle seed. Nyjer (aka thistle) seed is eagerly consumed by all the small finches—goldfinches, house, purple, and Cassin’s finches, pine siskins, and redpolls. You need to offer this tiny seed in a specialized feeder of some kind. The two most commonly used types of thistle feeder are a tube feeder with small, thistle-seed-sized holes, and a thistle sock.

5. Safflower. Feed safflower in any feeder that can accommodate sunflower seed. Avoid offering safflower on the ground in wet weather: It can quickly become soggy and inedible. You can buy safflower in bulk at seed and feed stores.

4. Cracked corn. Sparrows, blackbirds, jays, doves, quail, and squirrels are just a few of the creatures attracted to cracked corn. Depending on where you live you may also get turkeys, deer, and elk.

3. Mealworms. Most feeder birds, except goldfinches, will eat mealworms if you offer them. Live mealworms are available in bait stores or by mail order. Don’t worry, mealworms aren’t slimy and gross. In fact, they aren’t even worms; they are larval stage of a beetle (Tenebrio molitor).

2. Fruit. Set out grapes, slices of citrus fruits, apple or banana slices, and even melon rinds, and watch the birds chow down. If you want to feed raisins, chop them up and soak them in warm water first to soften them up a bit.

1. Homemade bird treats. You can come up with your own recipes for winter bird treats. Smear peanut butter on a tree trunk, and poke some peanut bits into it. Melt suet in your microwave, and pour it into an ice-cube tray to harden. Before it solidifies, add peanut bits, raisins, apple bits, or other bird foods. Put the tray in your freezer to harden. Once it does, you’ve got cubed bird treats—easy to make and easy to use!

2018 Outdoor Environmental Adventure Camp for Youth

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Camp Rocky is a fun and educational opportunity for youth ages 14 through 19 who are looking for an outdoors adventure.  The Douglas County Conservation District offers partial scholarships to attend this camp.  See below for contact information.

Camp Rocky, sponsored by the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Colorado State Forest Service, and other partners, will be held TBA in a mountain setting above Colorado Springs near Divide, CO.   The camp provides a great opportunity for those who enjoy the outdoors and are interested in learning more about Colorado’s natural resources.

Camp Rocky staff members are professionals in their respective resource fields.  They assist participants in learn about their environment while working in teams and meeting other students from across Colorado.  Each year, new and returning students choose one of the following resource fields for their area of focus:

  • Forest Management: The forestry team learns about different forest types, how to determine the overall health of the forest, how to find a tree’s age without cutting it down, why trees can be “dangerous”, and how fire can be “good” for forest health and safety.
  • Soil and Water Conservation: This team learns about two primary components of nature – soil and water. They will create a river and learn how different types of soil affect plants, wildlife and humans.
  • Rangeland Science: The rangeland science team learns about the fitness of rangeland and forage.  They will study how rangelands provide food for livestock, habitat for wildlife, and clean water for drinking.
  • Fish and Wildlife Management:  The wildlife biology team will track a radio-collared animal, go electro-fishing (a “shocking” experience), and learn how different types of Colorado wildlife survive the elements.

Additional activities include volleyball games, hiking, archery, trap shooting, a campfire, the Camp Rocky challenge, and a dance.  At the close of camp, students will receive a Camp Rocky certificate of Achievement.

Eligible youth include those who have completed eighth grade by June 1, 2018 through age 19.  The cost is $300.00, all inclusive.  Limited scholarships for Douglas County Colorado youth are available.  For more information, application, or scholarship information, contact the Douglas County Conservation District at 303-218-2622 or email DCCDistrict@gmail.com