Coming to a ZIP near you

There is a new and rather amazing internet tool for learning the probability of birds likely to be found currently within your ZIP code area.

Go to, enter your ZIP code and hit update.

You will be given the probability of a species having been reported there during the chosen month.

You can click on a species to find out where best to find it during the selected month, a very cool service indeed. This works for any ZIP code in the U.S.

This service was created by Michael Fogleman, a North Carolina birder who used historical data of sightings reported to the listing service eBird, a service of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

For instance, on March 23 for ZIP 55391, there was a predicted 26% chance of seeing a hooded merganser within 10 miles of my ZIP boundaries. In February my chance was 0.4%.

My response included 113 possible species in 55391 on this date.

Data from the newest reports, those from the current month, are not included.

Strike that

Three sets of patio doors lead to our deck, where we have both seed and suet feeders. This winter we marked the glass with narrow foot-long strips of white cotton cloth held to the glass with blue masking tape. Ugly, but they worked: not a single window strike all winter. On March 25 we removed the strips so we could wash windows. On March 26, with the windows unmarked, a sharp-shinned hawk chased a downy woodpecker from a deck-mounted suet feeder. Both birds hit one of the glass doors. Both seemed to recover — resting, then flying away. The cotton markers are once again in place.

Where to get the lead out

We wrote a couple of weeks ago about ingested lead killing birds, in particular bald eagles and trumpeter swans. Birds accidentally swallow lead fishing gear — sinkers and jigs — that finds its way into lakes and ponds, inadvertently or as a way to get rid of broken or unwanted gear.

Replacing lead tackle is a good idea. What do you do with it?

The only safe disposal is at a hazardous waste site. Hennepin County has two: Brooklyn Park, 8100 Jefferson Hwy., and Bloomington, 1400 W. 96th St. Find more information at or your local county's site.