The Quarterly Community eNewsletter of Bird Town Pennsylvania
Winter 2023
Welcome to “Bird Beat”
Welcome to “Bird Beat,” the quarterly eNewsletter of Bird Town Pennsylvania. Bird Beat is a seasonal communication (summer, fall, winter and spring) for individuals working to use native plants in their properties for the birds, pollinators, and other beneficial creatures that enhance the ecosystems in which we all live. Many of you have received one or more forms of habitat recognition or certification from Audubon, the National Wildlife Federation, or other organizations.

“Bird Beat” offers timely tips for native plant enthusiasts like you, along with links to resources, events, and ideas to engage your families, friends, and neighbors with the wonders that your native gardens, from container gardening, to full blown meadows, evoke. The theme for this edition of “Bird Beat” is "From Winter to Spring." We hope you find “Bird Beat” informative and valuable. Please share this newsletter with any folks you think would like to subscribe to future editions of “Bird Beat.” Note that you can unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. We invite your comments and suggestions for future topics at

Danger: Birds and Windows, Part 2
By Peter Saenger

We live in a world where we can research anything with the simple click of a button. This is a wonderful thing to be able to do, but we must also realize that not everything we find is fact, or current. This holds true when you do a search of the web for bird-window collisions. You can find a wide range of facts, half-truths, urban legends, and just outright wrong information. It can be difficult to sort through all this, and to know what is correct, or not.

Click here to get expert information.

Bugs for Birds: Surviving Winter
By Karen Campbell

As you’re snuggled warm in your bed…   do you ever wonder what happens to our bugs in the winter? Okay, so it isn’t the most burning question on your mind. But come spring, birds rely on bugs “reappearing”, especially migrants. So how do they survive and where do they go?

Click here to learn fascinating facts!

Buds for Birds: Spring Ephemerals
By Barbara Malt

It’s never too soon to start thinking about spring, is it? To make your dreams come true sooner rather than later, consider the earliest native spring flowers. Aside from having something to look forward to on dreary winter days, there are two good reasons to think about native bloomers early. First, flowering plants tend to fly out of nurseries when they're in bloom, and stocks may be depleted until next year. So if you want to get hold of native bloomers, you have to be ready to act fast. Second, it is usually best to plant flowering plants when they don’t have a lot of leaves and flowers to support. Planting early lets the roots settle in before the plant’s energy and water needs increase.

Click here to get more great tips.

Certify Your Habitat for Wildlife
By Heidi Shiver

The National Wildlife Federation’s “Certified Wildlife Habitat Program” is one of 10 programs that Bird Town Pennsylvania encourages homeowners to consider as they improve their backyard habitats to support birds and wildlife. Our goal is to engage and encourage all property owners and managers who care about providing good habitat for ecological diversity and a sustainable future. It’s our vision to build and expand green highways of sustenance and safety to counterbalance the tremendous loss of living space for birds, plants, and all native species.

Click here to learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s program.

Spotlight on Community Science:
Birds in Town and Birds in Down
By Heidi Shiver

Projects in Community Science are a fun way to collect data about our local bird and pollinator populations and beyond. The data you collect helps scientists study diversity in nature and trends in populations. No formal training is required—just curiosity, a willingness to go out and explore, and a smartphone or computer. You can collect data about birds in urban settings and, as spring arrives, about nesting behaviors. Click here to learn more!
Do This! Not That!
By Barbara Beck

It probably happened to you at some time. You are at home, and you hear something that sounds like a soft thud in the background. You get up and investigate. Where did the sound come from? It sounded like it came from outside, but you look outside and see nothing. You step out your door and look around at eye level. Still nothing. Then as you come around the house you look down, and that is when you see it – a bird. It may be stunned, in which case you can ensure it is protected from predators by placing it in a box or paper bag and leaving it quietly to recover, which may take minutes or hours. More likely than not, however, it will be dead, and what is most heartbreaking is that it was an avoidable death.

Click here to learn how to prevent these tragedies.
Sense of Wonder: Coping with Cold Weather
By Christine M. Du Bois 

A human conversation that doesn’t happen:

“Brrrrr, I’m freezing out here!”
“Remember, you can turn your body’s temperature requirements down—then you’ll be fine.”
“Oh, right, good idea. I forgot how easy it is to re-set my internal dial.”

A bird adaptation that does happen:

In cold weather, birds sometimes turn their internal heat requirements down—in Pennsylvania, mourning doves and turkey vultures regularly use that trick. 

Click here to learn about several ways that birds cope with the cold.

Kids’ Corner
By Christine M. Du Bois

It’s cold outside, and your family might not be outdoors as much.  So click here to see if you can find these birds hidden in an indoor scene!
Birdwatching: Classic Movies about Birds
"The Eagle Huntress"
By Heidi Shiver

Set in Mongolia, this beautifully filmed documentary follows the teenager Aisholpan’s journey as she trains to becomes the first female in twelve generations of her nomad family to become an eagle huntress. 

With the help of her father, she learns how to train golden eagles, and she even captures and trains her own eaglet. She goes on to compete in the annual traditional Eagle Festival, where their heritage is celebrated, and the skills of the birds and their trainers are demonstrated. 

Click here to learn more about this exquisite film.
Looking Ahead!

  • Look for our Spring edition of “Bird Beat” in April for information on how you can support migrating and breeding birds with valuable adjustments to your property.
  • Be sure to check our website for more resources:
  • Encourage others to sign-up to receive “Bird Beat,” our eNewsletter.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We welcome suggestions and content for the Bird Town Bird Beat. Submissions can be sent to for consideration. Note that submissions will be accorded full consideration but do not ensure inclusion in the newsletter

President: Heidi Shiver
Vice President: Phil Witmer
Secretary: Janet Krevenas
Treasurer: Tom Price
Board Member: Steve Saffier
Board Member: Lauren Diamond
Liaison to PAAC: Leigh Altadonna

Bird Town's Bird Beat e-newsletter editorial team
Christine M. Du Bois, layout
Karen Campbell, blog publisher
Leigh Altadonna, editor emeritus and consultant
Christine M. Du Bois, editor
For image credits, click here

Kids' Corner Answer Key is below the puzzle itself.