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Meet Your Backyard Birds Tonight
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The water ouzel or American dipper is a dark grey bird with a brown-tinged head and white feathers on the eyelids that make his eyes flash white when he blinks.
   
Thursday, February 4, 2021
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTO BY DAVID HITCHIN

Take a walk alongside Trail Creek this winter and you might see a water ouzel, also known as an American dipper.

The dark grey bird with long legs like Wilt Chamberlain’s bobs up and down as it feeds on the bottom of fast-moving rocky streams. Oil glands keep it virtually dry, which keeps it warm when seeking food in icy rapids.

“We come in second in the country for dippers, which are called that because they dip,” says Sun Valley’s resident birder Poo Wright-Pulliam.

Learn more about the birds that live here throughout the winter, what they eat, cool apps and even fun citizen science projects you can get involved in when the Hailey Public Library hosts a virtual presentation of “Backyard Birds in Winter.”

The presentation featuring Wright-Pulliam will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, on Zoom. RSVP to Kristin.fletcher@haileypubliclibrary.org to access it.

“With the Great Backyard Bird Count coming up February 12-15, we thought this would be a great time to bring in a local expert to talk about our backyard birds,” commented Kristin Fletcher, the library’s programs and community engagement coordinator, “Many of our feathered friends are very easy to identify and there’s much we can do to help them survive and thrive during these cold winter months.”

Wright-Pulliam started her birding career in 1995 by asking a friend a simple question about a bird she saw: What is it? The friend handed her a birding field guide and challenged her to find and identify 100 species in a year. Wright-Pulliam finished the challenge in just over two months.

Later, she took the Cornell Home Study Course in Bird Biology, reading every bird book and field guide she could find. Each year she coordinates the Audubon Christmas Bird Count near Silver Creek Preserve, and she leads a handful of bird walks for the Environmental Resource Center.

An artist, she also paints the birds she loves and has served as artist-in-residence at both Craters of the Moon National Monument near Arco and City of Rocks National Reserve south of Burley, making birds a central focus on her works while there.

Recently, she tied for first place in the professional artist category in a competition hosted by the River Otter Ecology Program, a leading research and education organization located in the San Francisco By area.


 

 

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