Monday , September 18 2017
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Cathy - migration 1

The benefits of migration

They’re following me. Varying members of the finch family have followed me from Wisconsin, more than 1,500 miles to the warmer climate of New Mexico.

I have always enjoyed bird watching. I’m not a fanatic, but I know the names of the basic birds that show their colors in Wisconsin and one of them is the goldfinch. It would be difficult to mistake their colors here in the desert of Organ, N.M. It’s a sight I am not used to during the long winter months of Wisconsin.

Cathy - migration 2It helps that my hostess has a bird sanctuary right outside her large kitchen window. Hung there are various types of feeders to attract a plethora of birds. The goldfinch hang precariously from the thistle seed sack while their cousin the purple finch eat greedily from the safflower feeder.

The color of their feathers add an interesting contrast to the drab colors of the desert and the locals that often join them — the quail, mourning dove and even an occasional road runner that deigns to make an appearance.

Through research I learned the primary reason a bird migrates is because they lose their food source during winter. That is so true in Wisconsin when the entire state, and any food that a bird could eat, is covered under snow.

Here in New Mexico, well fed by my hostess, no bird, nor the occasional rabbit or squirrel, have to fear of running out of food. They have a ready source at hand, so I don’t need to worry that they are going to leave anytime soon.

I left Wisconsin because of the cold temperatures, but the birds left because they lost their food source. No matter what caused the migration, it is temporary. Soon it will warm up and we will point the RV north and, before we know it, we will be watching the goldfinch eat at our own feeder in Wisconsin.

About Cathy Duesterhoeft

Cathy and her husband, Norm, travel throughout the United States in their Brave Winnebago working for Mainly Marathons. When home in Westfield, Wis., their RV is parked on a gravel pad while they finish construction on their new home. Cathy documents their many adventures on her website at

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