By Colleen Schmit
This week the Environmental Resource Center wrapped up our Winter Bird Walks for the season. We are grateful to Poo Wright-Pulliam, who shares her knowledge of bird identification and bird life histories, as well as her enthusiasm for birding, with all who attend.
To start the season off in December, Poo gave a presentation at the Community Library on the bird species found around Ketchum in winter. Following her presentation, we strolled through Ketchum and saw 13 species, including 7 Clark’s Nutcrackers.
In January, we explored the Nature Conservancy’s Silver Creek Preserve. Its ponds, which remain mostly ice-free throughout the winter, provide important habitat for many bird species. We found 19 species on that day, including Great Horned Owl.
The March Bird Walk, on a warm, sunny Saturday at the Wood River Land Trust’s Draper Wood River Preserve, attracted nearly 20 beginner and expert birders. We found 17 species, including beautiful Green-winged Teal and Brown Creeper. Some participants watched Brown Creepers forage up close for the first time in their life. The name Brown Creeper comes from this species’s distinctive feeding behavior. Their long, stiff tails help support them as they creep their way up tree trunks in a spiral pattern and use their thin, curved beak to collect insects and spiders from the bark. When a Brown Creeper has finished foraging on one tree, it will fly to the base of another tree, and start climbing up the new one. Due to their mottled brown and white plumage, they blend in well with tree bark. Once you spot one, Brown Creepers are fun to watch as they hop up the tree in search of food. You can learn more about them here.
The ERC will host bird walks this summer; dates will be announced this spring. Thank you to the Wood River Land Trust, Nature Conservancy, and Community Library for welcoming birders to their sites this winter!