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Oriole Migration Update: April 30, 1998

Today's Report Includes:

Here Come the Baltimore Orioles: Feeder Up?
They're coming your way! We have 13 new sightings to report today, and from new states such as Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinios--even Wisconsin and Massachusetts. Notice how the orioles suddenly pop fly across the country. Compare the pattern of this migration with that of the monarchs, hummingbirds, loons or robins. In what ways are they the same, and how are they different? How do you account for this?

Winter and Breeding Range
Map by
Macalester College

Latest Migration Map
As of April 30, 1998

Please let us know when your first orioles arrive. And when your feeder is up, report that you've helped Unpave the Way for Orioles!

Julie Brophy's Special
Oriole Recipe

  • Use one part water to one part grape jelly.
  • With a blender, mix the jelly and water into a thick juice.
  • Pour it into the feeder. (Use a funnel if you can).
  • Be sure to store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Unpave the Way for Orioles!

Keep Kitty Inside

Soft and Furry..or Ferocious?
Which would you say, if this hungry face were looking at you?

During migration, birds are particularly vulnerable to predators. They are unfamiliar with their surroundings, and are tired and hungry after the long journey. Just perfect for a cunning cat.

But cats are dangerous predators for birds at other times of the year, too. For example, most young birds leave the nest before they can fly well. You'll soon see baby robins on the ground taking short practice flights, the first few days after they fledge. These young birds are easy prey for a cat.

In fact, Dr. Stanley Temple, a professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin has made some startling estimates for his state: Cats kill at least 9% of Wisconsin's summer bird population. His research showed:

There are:

  • 18.9 million adult birds at beginning of the breeding season
  • 16.1 million more young birds are born each summer
  • 35.0 million birds total

Of these:

  • 3.25 million birds are killed by cats!

With over 65 million cats in the U.S. alone--1 for every 4 people--imagine the toll they take on songbirds each year.

You can help by keeping housecats in the house. And, even if you don't have a cat, share this information with people who do. The American Bird Conservancy has launched a citizen education and action campaign surrounding this issue called, "Cats Indoors! The Campaign for Safer Birds and Cats". For educational materials on the impact of cats on birds, legislative solutions, and practical advice on how to convert an outdoor cat into a contented indoor pet, contact:

Let's Vote: Challenge Question # 6
Most communities restrict dogs from roaming the neighborhood, but cats can move as they please. What's your opinion?

Challenge Question # 6
"Do you think a law should be passed which requires people to keep housecats inside, as a measure to protect songbirds?"

We're interested in hearing what you think! To send your vote, please follow the Challenge Question instructions at the end of this report.

Radio-Collared Cats: Students to the Rescue
The results of Dr. Temple's research concerned him. What could be done, he wondered? He challenged the computer & engineering students at his university to come up with a solution: A cat collar that would send out a warning to nearby birds. And last December, they completed their first design: a device that would emit a high-frequency "eeeeep" which birds would recognize as a signal of danger. If the collar is successful, they'll put it up for sale. Thanks to the combined talents of this university team, such a collar may one day be available at a store near you.
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question

1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-oriole@learner.org

2. In the Subject Line of your message write:
Challenge Question # 6

3. In the body of your message, answer today's question.

The Next Oriole Update Will be Posted on May 7, 1998.

Copyright 1998 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.