The Unique Voice of the Prairies – Truthful & Authentic

Historicity, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that publishes the Prairie Connection
121 West Main, Harper, KS 67058

Rosalea’s Big Seven Ohhh!

Donate and help restore Rosalea’s Hotel!

Contributions may be sent to: Rosalea's Hotel Restoration Fund, 121 West Main, Harper, KS  67058

1883 & 1968 Rosalea's Patterson House Hotel

Were you a traveling hippie in the 1970s?  Perhaps you stayed at the famous Rosalea's Hotel in Harper, KS.  Now you can help restore it as an historic prairie icon of the 70s!    Goal:  100,000 at $10 each and it is preserved for future generations


Gloria Jones-Wolf

This is regular feature is provided by Gloria Jones-Wolf, who is an active birder. It is her wish that this column appeals to everyone, not just those people who use the word “bird” as a verb.

I received a call asking how to keep all the big greedy Grackles from eating all the bird food and scaring all the other birds away from the feeders. This is a common problem, and many people find it frustrating. I sure experienced this when I lived in Wichita and had hordes of 40-50 Starlings at my feeder all the time. They probably ate ¾ of the sunflower seed I bought. But, while I was spending a lot of money feeding the birds I didn’t want at my feeder, I fed a lot that I did want, like the Cardinals, the Harris’s Sparrow, Dark-eyed Juncos, and such. So, one answer to that question is that you can’t keep those pesky House Sparrows and Crows away from your feeder, even if they do eat a lot. You could set off dynamite, or spread poison I guess, but then you’d be rid of all the birds.

A couple things that might help is to buy a feeder that is especially designed so that just the little birds have access to the food. They have a screen or such around the feeder that only the little birds can climb through. The cost of the feeder would probably be off set by the savings you’d make when you had to buy less birdseed. Another thing is that while those black oil Sunflower seeds are what many birds prefer, especially those pretty red birds, there is a white Safflower seed that the Cardinals still like and supposedly the Starlings don’t like it as much. I have simply resigned myself that at times, unwanted and uninvited guests may empty my bird feeders, so I just don’t let it bother me. Here in the small town of Elk Falls there aren’t the Starlings, and crows I had to put up with in the bigger city. When I lived out in the country, like I did when I first moved to Elk Falls, I had, not even one House Sparrow. So, certain locations have both advantages, and disadvantages.

Another bird some people get that they don’t like coming to their feeder is the little Sharp-shin Hawk. If you feed birds, sooner or later you’ll get one of these little hawks hanging around at times, looking to make breakfast of one of the birds you were providing breakfast for. Both the Sharp-shinned Hawk and the Coopers Hawk look similar. Both are heavily streaked on the breast, usually with rufous streaking. The back is blue gray, as is the cap on the head. The tail is barred with wide dark stripes. The Cooper’s Hawk is a bit bigger. For those who are into more specifics, the Sharp-shinned Hawk has a square tail with a thin white tip, and the Cooper’s Hawk’s tail is rounded with a wider white tip. These hawks prey on other birds. They are woodland hawks and their smaller size and long tails and short wings allow them great agility in pursuing small birds through the trees and bushes. Some people tell me they shoot these hawks to prevent one of them from getting their Cardinals. But that is a problem; they are a protected bird, and it is against the law to shoot them.

Another way to look at it is, that we feed the birds to attract them so we can see them and enjoy them. They’ve been feeding themselves and surviving all these millions of years and while the multitude of people across our country keep their bird feeders full probably have increased populations because the birds can always find a reliable source of food, in reality they know how to feed themselves with what God provides in the wild. So, we feed the birds to see them and to enjoy their beauty and color, to hear them sing, and to savor a sight from this amazing world we live in, and those little hawks are a beautiful and a natural part of the bird world. So, relax, and enjoy that rare sight of that little raptor up close. Put your feeders where there is shelter nearby. The birds at your feeder are small creatures in a world of many big predators. They are always on the look out. When they see danger they know what to do. A big overgrown hedge along one side of my property gives great protection to the birds I attract. My feeders are nestled up close to the hedge. I’ll have a Sharp-shinned Hawk frequently, especially in the winter. I know they are there because I’ll look out at the feeder and there are no birds to be seen. Then when the coast is clear, they’ll start hopping out of the underbrush and eating again. Don’t shoot those hawks. Rather, get out your binoculars and look at them up close, for they are beautiful birds. A fellow here in Elk Falls, puts corn out for the crows. He places the corn a ways from his other bird feeders so the crows, which prefer the corn, don’t bother the smaller birds. And, one advantage is that when one ofthe predators hawks show up, the crows mob him and drive him off.

Spring is on the way. I have recorded that the first Eastern Phoebe, the first little flycatcher to show up in the spring, arrived on March 9th.

Correction: In the last issue in the next to the last paragraph it should have read: “The total number of birds seen was in the thousands,” not “773.”

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