For the Birds Radio Program: Contest Update

Original Air Date: Feb. 20, 1989

Just nine days to go, tallying backyard birds for this year’s contest. (3:11)

Audio missing


(Recording of a Pileated Woodpecker)

With less than nine days to go, our “For the Birds” winter backyard bird contest is going strong. I’ve heard reports from listeners of Great Gray Owls and a Barred Owl sitting in their yards, along with stories about abundant owl food in the form of squirrels. Rachel Melis in Washburn, Wisconsin is seeing 4 Gray Squirrels, 5 Red Squirrels, and a Black Squirrel at her feeder—with that much potential food, it’s no wonder her family has also heard an owl. 10-year-old Rachel sent me a preliminary list of 9 bird species that she herself has recorded in her yard since January first—she’ll send in her complete list next week when the contest ends. She also drew me a nice picture of a chickadee, and had some interesting stories to tell about the contest. She wrote, “We were all sitting in the kitchen listening to your update and wishing we had spotted a pileated woodpecker, when all of a sudden my brother Nathan screamed out that there were two pileated woodpeckers on our maple tree. Also, we changed an old song (“The Twelve Days of Christmas”) to two partridges in a poplar tree when we saw them outside our window.”

In order to make this little contest a success, we need help from everyone. Our cumulative list of Northland birds will be sent in the winter bird report to the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union and the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology for their seasonal records, and so it would be nice to hear from every town in our listening area. Every contestant will automatically win a certificate declaring that she or he is an official Northland Bird Brain, awarded by Baker’s Blue Jay Barn. One contestant from Wisconsin and one from Minnesota chosen at random will win the golden field guide, “Birds of North America.” The top child from each state will win a bird book donated by Explorations in downtown Duluth. Since most people consider squirrels to be definitely for the birds, whoever sees the most squirrels will win an official “For the Birds” mug. And our grand prize winners will each win a bird feeder donated by Trico Lawn and Garden Store—the nicest, friendliest store in Duluth’s West End. If you want to enter the contest, next week send in your list of all the birds you’ve spotted in or from your yard between New Year’s Day and the last day of February—if you are twelve or under, make sure you write your age on your entry. If you report the number of squirrels you are seeing, write the maximum number of each species that you have seen at one time. Squirrels are mating now, and if you aren’t completely prejudiced against them, they’re pretty fun to watch when they’re feeling romantic. We welcome any interesting stories about the birds or other animals at your feeder. Let’s make this first annual winter bird contest a real success–start listing your birds today.

(Recording of a Pileated Woodpecker)

This is Laura Erickson, and this program has been “For the Birds.”