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Swans return, not to Capistrano, but Deane Park

This spectacular photo of trumpeter swans flying over Little Sand Lake was taken by Marshall Howe. They invaded his lens while he was out shooting the mist.

Winter has settled in and our winter bird routines begin.

Food, food, food.

Wednesday I spent what will be many lunch hours at Deane Park communing with the growing population of trumpeter swans that has increased to three dozen.

They've become quite social and eagerly honk for corn instead of scooting down the river away from people.

They've always been an aggressive bunch. Wednesday one was trying to drown a mallard hen that came too close to the corn, dragging her by the wing around in circles under water until she freed herself, gasping and quacking her head off.

My peanut feeders are getting heavy use. Nuts are a high energy, high fat food source for birds, so if you have a peanut feeder, keep it well stocked.

If not, get one!

And here's a suet recipe I saw recently on NPR for the do-it-yourselfers.


1 cup melted lard

1 cup peanut butter

2 cups quick oats

2 cups yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour


Melt lard and peanut butter together in the microwave or on a low burner. Remove from heat and combine with dry ingredients. When cool, store in jars; no refrigeration needed. Offer crumbled in an open dish or packed into a suet log.

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Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

(218) 732-3364