Many birds that come to feeders in the winter -- blue jays and nuthatches in particular -- can be seen selecting a seed and flying away with it. Watch them if you can. Chances are they're storing seeds behind a piece of bark or in a crevice somewhere to be eaten later. These birds are able to remember placement of thousands of pieces of food. Any wonder why your feeders go empty so often?Snowbird birding
If you're traveling this winter, you may want to know what birds are being seen at your destination. Go to the website of the American Birding Association, www.americanbirding.org, click on Resources and choose Mailing Lists. You'll find the addresses for the e-mail lists that keep track of bird sightings in various states. You'll also be directed to a website where you can subscribe to the lists. (Subscribing and unsubscribing are easy.)
JIM WILLIAMSBook in brief
Just 25 years ago, visitors to the Grand Canyon had no chance of seeing a California condor, a species so endangered its population had dropped to 22 birds in the early 1980s. Now, thanks to a massive intervention program involving hundreds of people and dozens of organizations, these gigantic birds are once again soaring over the canyon's cliffs. "Condors in Canyon Country: The Return of the California Condor to the Grand Canyon Region" (Grand Canyon Association, $18.95), by Sophie Osborn, recounts that incredible journey.
It's impossible to read Osborn's book without feeling her passion for the condor, with its 9-foot wingspan and leg-dragging flight. That may be because Osborn was one of the scientists who worked to reclaim this magnificent bird. Controversial as it was, capturing all the remaining wild condors and embarking on a captive breeding program appears to be the key to the bird's salvation.
Condors are still highly endangered. They face continuing threats from poisoning, human encroachment and hazards such as power lines. The birds also are slow to breed, raising one chick every two years. But they seem to be on the comeback trail. Osborn's lively writing and the book's superb photographs create the perfect vehicle to celebrate this environmental success story.