COLUMN: Harsh winter has been hard on many bluebirds

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The winter nearly all of us want to see gone has been hard on just about everything, people, pets, livestock and most of nature’s other inhabitants.

One of many people’s favorite feathered friends, bluebirds, have taken a big hit, it seems. Two people have come to the News over the past week after finding several dead bluebirds in their birdhouses.

Curt Rogier from the Leopold-Bandon area said he found several dead bluebirds in a clay birdhouse and just Friday Robert Harpe from the Millstone area stopped by and said he found several bluebirds in a wood birdhouse.

Harpe said he called Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Jeff Thompson, who picked up the birds.

Bluebirds are insect feeders and the long periods of snow and ice on the ground in January and much of February surely sealed off the ground, making it hard for birds to find insects. Perhaps they starved to death or became weak and then when faced with subzero cold simply couldn’t cope. It may have been a combination of cold and lack of food.

Lots of people have placed food out for birds and that has certainly saved many from starvation or near-starvation. If you’ve found dead birds this winter, let us know and we’ll pass the word on to Jeff.

Lent Begins Wednesday

Lent is here and while not everyone’s religious tradition observes the 40-day period before Easter, most of us at least acknowledge its arrival.

It’s also true that not everyone follows the pattern of “giving up something” for Lent, just as most of us don’t kick up our heels in Mardis Gras style before Ash Wednesday’s arrival. At least I didn’t Tuesday.

When it came to Lent, I grew up in an observant household where Ash Wednesday and the subsequent Fridays of Lent meant salmon patties, cod squares, tuna salad and catfish.

I try to keep many of those Lenten traditions, such as abstaining from meat on Fridays and going to church at least a little more often.

I also try to be a little more giving with time and money.

Instead of throwing my spare change into a cookie jar for some future splurge, I save it during Lent and give it to some charity that helps the hungry. I’m sure many other churches do the same thing.

There are local ways of doing the same thing. I know friends who eat out most Friday evenings.

During Lent, however, every other week is supper at home and they take what they otherwise would have spent and give it to a local charity. They’ve done that for many years.

We’ll be sharing some Lent recipes in Thursday’s issue, so keep an eye out for them. I am a fan of tuna salad and salmon patties so from a food point of year, bring on Lent.

FOP Events

Perry County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 137 sent nice letters to its associate members recently and was courteous enough to send complimentary cards to all member since some members did not receive theirs last year.

The lodge usually sponsors a social event or two each year as well as fundraisers to support projects such as Shop with a Cop and a college scholarship. This year’s officers are Charlie Johnson, a state police trooper, president; Eric Dickenson, Perry County Sheriff’s Department, vice president, and Jason Shadwick, Tell City Police Department, secretary-treasurer.

For information on the FOP and its activities, or to become an associate member, call the Tell City Police Department at 547-7068.

Raising Money for a Good Cause

Little Frankie Faust accompanied her grandmother, Janet, into the News offices Monday. They dropped off a photo of deer feeding at the family’s birdfeeder along Lorainne Road. Frankie was also collecting money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Every penny she collected goes to a good cause.