Q We've had quite a few woodpeckers visiting our feeders this summer and fall. Will they be migrating soon?
A You'll probably see those same downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers at your feeders all winter, because these woodpeckers don't migrate.
Woodpeckers that do migrate include the yellow-bellied sapsucker (which, as its name implies, is a big fan of tree sap), the northern flicker and the hard-to-find red-headed woodpecker.
To attract woodpeckers during winter, offer suet and whole, shelled peanuts, high-energy treats that will help these hardy birds endure winter's frigid weather.Out of the blue
Q We hadn't seen blue jays all summer. Recently, a big crowd of jays arrived at our feeders. What's going on?
A Blue jays are silent and secretive during summer's nesting season, so it's not surprising that you didn't see them. Now that nesting season is over, local blue jays and their offspring are again visiting feeders.
Other jays, which spent the summer farther north, are now moving through our area, as well. The jays that descended on your feeders probably were migrants.Discouraging doves
Q Mourning doves have been making pests of themselves at our feeder and birdbath. How can I discourage them?
A You can keep them out of your feeders by offering seed in a feeder covered with a dome set low enough over the feeder so the doves can't fit beneath it. There's no way to exclude them from the birdbath, though. But because so many other birds are desperate for a drink in winter, it would be kind of you to learn to tolerate those mourning doves.Egrets in winter
Q Where do all the beautiful egrets go to spend the winter?
A These stately white birds are well on their way to winter homes in the Gulf Coast states, Mexico and Central American countries as far south as Panama. There, they spend their time stalking fish, frogs and crabs in the same sort of watery areas they inhabit in the north during the summer.Give 'em shelter
Q Is there one best thing I can do to help back-yard birds?
A Plant an evergreen tree or shrub. Better yet, plant several of them. Birds usually can find enough food from wild sources, but places to hide and sleep are in short supply, especially in urban areas.Preying on predators
Q Do eagles have predators?
A Only one: humans. We trapped them, poisoned them, shot them and raided their nests for eggs. However, this large, handsome bird of prey is on the rebound, thanks to protection provided by the Endangered Species Act and by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Their population is high enough that the federal government removed the eagle from endangered species protection in 2007, but other federal sanctions against harming them still apply.
Val Cunningham, a St. Paul nature writer, bird surveyor and field trip leader, can be reached at email@example.com.