Re­mem­ber the birds dur­ing these colder months

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­[email protected]­look.com

Around this time last year, I wrote a col­umn about how much I look for­ward to get­ting snow, and then we got some, and in re­sponse I got a few emails thank­ing me for my in­ter­ven­tion with the weather gods.

As of Wednesday, it looks like we might be in for pre­cip­i­ta­tion of the white flakey kind this week­end, but just a dust­ing. If by chance the fore­cast changes and we get a cou­ple of inches, then there’s no need to send me a thank you note. You’re wel­come!

When cold tem­per­a­tures and win­ter weather are upon us, it’s time to make sure your bird feed­ers are stocked and your bird­bath has liq­uid wa­ter in it.

I just read some in­ter­est­ing facts from Wild Birds Un­lim­ited about how birds sur­vive the cold, windy days and dark and even colder nights of win­ter.

In South­ern Mary­land in Jan­uary, a small songbird will have to sus­tain it­self through 14 hours of dark­ness each night by us­ing only its fat re­serves for body fuel.

Song­birds can use up to 75 to 80 per­cent of those re­serves in just one win­ter night. That means they need to re­fuel the next day.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cor­nell Lab­o­ra­tory of Or­nithol­ogy, smaller birds like chick­adees need to eat up to 35 per­cent of their weight in food each day. For big­ger birds like blue jays, that num­ber might be closer to 10 per­cent of their weight.

Dur­ing the sum­mer months, birds eat more naturally avail­able food like in­sects and fruits, but find­ing food in win­ter is more chal­leng­ing be­cause nat­u­ral foods be­come scarce. And the ex­tremely rainy grow­ing sea­son we ex­pe­ri­enced last year neg­a­tively in­flu­enced how much nat­u­ral food is avail­able. That’s where kind-hearted peo­ple come in.

It doesn’t take much. Just a feeder you buy at the store or one you make with an old milk jug out of the re­cy­cle bin will work along with fresh seeds from any store, big box or bird feed­ing spe­cialty store.

Black sun­flower seeds are rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive and hap­pen to be the per­fect food to of­fer. They’re high in en­ergy and can be cracked open by small song­birds. In fact, most of the species of birds that will

visit a bird­feeder will eat them. Suet is an­other food you might want to of­fer in win­ter.

Other things you can do to help birds is of­fer fresh wa­ter and shel­ter. Birds still need to bathe in the win­ter to keep their feath­ers clean. Clean feath­ers pro­vide the best in­su­la­tion from harsh out­door con­di­tions. You can buy a bird­bath heater, or you can just put a pie plate out on your deck rail­ing and crack out the ice and re­fill it sev­eral times a day with fresh, cool wa­ter to give the birds a place to clean up.

And if you’ve still got your not-so-live-any­more Christ­mas tree still up, this week would

be a good time to find it a new spot out­doors. Your old tree can pro­vide birds a place to shel­ter from win­ter wind and pre­cip­i­ta­tion, along with a safe place to hide from preda­tors.

Make a for­tune with one catch

Do you think 2019 is go­ing to be your year? If you’re a lucky bass fish­er­man, your catch might give you a lot more than just brag­ging rights, to the tune of thou­sands of dol­lars.

That’s right. Hale Lures/Stan­ley Jigs is of­fer­ing a $100,000 bounty to the first an­gler who catches a new IGFA World Record all-tackle large­mouth bass on any Hale Lure or Stan­ley Jig bait in United States pub­lic wa­ters through Dec. 31, 2019.

You might re­mem­ber a very fa­mous fish that was caught on a Stan­ley Jig and a Hale Craw combo in Lake Fork in 1986. That lunker’s name was Ethel and she weighed in at 17.86 pounds, set­ting a new Texas state record.

Ethel lived out her re­main­ing years in a tank at Bass Pro Shops head­quar­ters in Spring­field, Mis­souri. When she died in 1994, Bass Pro Shops held a memo­rial ser­vice in her honor which was at­tended by hun­dreds of peo­ple, in­clud­ing com­pany founder Johnny Mor­ris.

Mark Steven­son’s state record with Ethel lasted six years. In 1992, Barry St. Clair broke the record with an 18.18-pound bass caught in the same im­pound­ment on a live shiner.

You prob­a­bly won’t catch any large­mouth bass that big in Mary­land, so maybe a trip down south is war­ranted. Af­ter all, you could pay off your mort­gage with a prize like that.

You won’t be able to use live bait if you want to win the bounty. Any of Stan­ley’s ma­jor baits such as the Big Nasty Jig, New Mud Puppy and Awe­some Twin Spin are eligible for the prize.

The winning fish must cer­tify 22.4-pounds or larger. And don’t for­get the fine print that men­tions that the win­ner must pass a poly­graph exam be­fore any money ex­changes hands.

For more in­for­ma­tion, go to https://fish­stan­ley. com/ and click on the “$100,000.00 Large­mouth Bass Bounty” tab.

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