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2012 Mailbag Monday Reader Question Archive

Mailbag Monday Birding Questions in 2012


Do you have a birding or bird-related question you just can't figure out? Are your backyard birds acting strange? Are you trying every trick to attract birds but not having any luck? A lot of birders have similar concerns, and every Monday one reader's question is featured with detailed resources to help resolve all sorts of problems with tricky bird identifications, feeding the birds, bird house problems, bird conservation issues, unusual bird behavior and more. Read through this archive to see what birding questions have been featured in 2012, and if you still have questions, feel free to submit your own!

Want to see what even more birders are asking? Check out the Mailbag Monday question archives from previous years!

Bird House Holes

Damaged Bird House
Andrew Swerdlow

12/17/2012 – Submitted by Jon in Quebec.

"Four years ago I put up a wooden bird house, but when I took it down this fall to clean it I noticed a lot of bite marks around the hole. Will this affect whether or not birds will use the house again? Each year I've had birds nest in it, and I want them to come back."

Giving Birdseed Gifts

Birdseed Ornament
Melissa Mayntz

12/10/2012 – Submitted by Beth in Wisconsin.

"I love feeding the birds, and I'd love to share it with all my neighbors. We always exchange gifts, but I can't afford to give everyone a bird feeder - do you have any suggestions?"

Christmas Trees Helping Birds

Tree Farm

12/3/2012 – Submitted by Alice in Kansas.

"Every Christmas, my husband and I debate getting a real tree or a fake one, but which would be best for the birds? I don't like the idea of cutting down a tree every year, but he says it can actually help birds."

Social Plans for Birding Clubs


11/26/2012 – Submitted by Harold in Nevada.

"I've just been elected as an officer in my local birding group, and I'm in charge of events. We have another member organizing field trips, and I'm not sure what types of events are best without seeing birds. Do you have suggestions?"

Talking Turkey

Wild Turkey
Teddy Llovet

11/19/2012 – Submitted by Cassie in Vermont.

"I'm a second grade teacher, and I'd love to teach my students more about turkeys. We've visited a turkey farm and are doing a unit on Pilgrims, but what can I teach them about wild turkeys?"

Birds and Birthday Balloons

Helium Balloons

11/12/2012 – Submitted by Marylyn in Arizona.

"I'm planning my daughter's birthday party for a local park, and she loves balloons, but I've heard balloons are bad for birds. Is this true?"

Winter Bathing Birds

Evening Grosbeak

11/05/2012 – Submitted by Tim in Wisconsin.

"Can you provide more information about birds bathing in below freezing temps and what the danger might be? I have observed a number of species but particularly evening grosbeaks that bathe all winter long, even when it is as cold as 0 degrees Fahrenheit."

All About Owls

Burrowing Owl
Eddy Van 3000

10/29/2012 – Submitted by Kristine in Florida.

"My five-year-old son loves birds, and I'd like to introduce him to owls for Halloween. Do you have any suggestions?"

Attracting Juncos

Dark-Eyed Junco
Minette Layne

10/22/2012 – Submitted by Alicia in Nevada.

"A lot of my birding friends are excited about seeing juncos this winter. I don't really go out birding because my age and health don't permit it, but I do have feeders in my garden. What can I do to bring these birds to me instead?"

Winterizing Bird Houses

Downy Woodpecker
Matt MacGillivray

10/15/2012 – Submitted by Pam in Michigan.

"I have been having a wonderful time with a nesting box. This year, we hosted chickadees and watched them building the nest, laying the eggs and fledging. Now we have a downy woodpecker who roosts in that box from sundown until sunrise. That nesting box has ventilation at the bottom and top, of course. Do you have any info on whether I should cover those holes and slits for the winter?"

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