Annual Thanksgiving Birding Program

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show

Judith Siers-Poisson hosts the annual Thanksgiving birdwatching program. Tune in to learn how to best support the birds that spend their winter in Wisconsin, plus gift ideas for the birders on your holiday gift list. A tribute to regular holiday guest Noel Cutright will also be included. Noel passed away earlier this month.

Featured in this Show

  • For Hunters, A Tree Stand Is A Great Place For Birdwatching

    Hunters out this week are probably hoping to spot is a deer. But, if they’ve spent time in a tree stand, they know that a lot of time can pass without seeing anything.

    Or so one might think. If hunters widen their focus to looking for birds as well, they’ll be surprised by how much is there to see and hear.

    Bill Volkert was a wildlife educator and naturalist at Horicon Marsh International Education Center for many years, and still continues his work as a naturalist. He is also an avid deer hunter, and uses his time in the tree stand to spot birds.

    So far, since this year’s gun deer season started on Nov. 23, Volkert said he has identified 31 species of birds while hunting, and “a white-throated sparrow at my feeders this morning,” he said.

    Even an experienced naturalist gets excited about special and unusual sightings. Volkert said that some of the highlights so far have been “two bald eagles, one adult and one immature, circling overhead; watching a flock of 11 turkeys march through the woods and then fly up to their roost trees; having a pileated woodpecker fly within 15 to 20 feet of my tree stand on three occasions; watching two brown creepers searching over the trees next to me; and hearing two winter wrens calling from the dense stands of cattails.”

    After the hunt, an easy way to feed birds is to suspend the rib cage from the deer carcass from a tree. A variety of birds will pick at what’s left, and will enjoy the additions to their winter diet.

    The list of birds that Volkert has seen so far from his stand is below. To learn more about a particular species, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a great database for bird identification.

    • Canada Goose
    • Tundra Swan
    • Wild Turkey
    • Bald Eagle
    • Red-tailed Hawk
    • Cooper’s Hawk
    • Sandhill Crane
    • Ring-billed Gull
    • Mourning Dove
    • Great Horned Owl
    • Belted Kingfisher
    • Red-bellied Woodpecker
    • Downy Woodpecker
    • Hairy Woodpecker
    • Northern Flicker
    • Pileated Woodpecker
    • Blue Jay
    • American Crow
    • Black-capped Chickadee
    • White-breasted Nuthatch
    • Red-breasted Nuthatch
    • Brown Creeper
    • Winter Wren
    • Golden-crowned Kinglet
    • American Robin
    • Cedar Waxwing
    • Northern Junco
    • Northern Cardinal
    • Red-winged Blackbird
    • Common Grackle
    • American Goldfinch

Episode Credits

  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Bill Volkert Guest

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