CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- From hummingbirds that weigh less than a number-two pencil to bald eagles that build nests weighing two tons, Missouri is full of interesting bird species. Fun facts, feeding tips, and species differences will be explored at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center's upcoming event, Flights of Fancy, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 18.
According to Jordanya Brostoski, a naturalist with MDC, there's plenty of important facts to learn from Missouri's resident and migrant feathered friends. Brostoski said one important thing to pay attention to is the proper way to feed local birds. Although birds can get by without help from us, helping them along their journey is a great way to assist some who might otherwise struggle, she said.
"Even the healthiest birds can have difficulty finding food sources when visiting unfamiliar, urbanized areas," she said. "Providing birds with clean food and water not only brings us the joy of viewing them but allows them a better chance at survival."
Knowing unique details about the different bird species and what they need helps to ensure people help and don't harm the birds along their journey. One common mistake that's made in feeding birds is adding red dye to hummingbird feeders. Although hummingbirds are attracted to bright red objects, it's better to have red features on the feeder so the birds don't ingest red dye. Tips like this one will be shared at the Flights of Fancy event.
Brostoski said some of the most interesting things about birds are how they're adapted for the varying lifestyles of different species.
"Some have long legs for walking in water, some have sharp beaks for eating meat instead of seeds, some have camouflage that let them hide, and some have the ability to copy the songs of other bird species,"Brostoski said.
Brostoski said to expect lots of activities at Flights of Fancy such as family friendly crafts and games. Live bird presentations by the World Bird Sanctuary's Raptor Awareness Program will occur at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. featuring hawks, owls, eagles and vultures, and naturalists and volunteers will lead guided hikes every 30 minutes.
The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located within Cape County Park North on Kings Highway in Cape Girardeau. For information on this and other events at the center, go online to mdc.mo.gov/CapeNatureCenter.