Enjoy writing columns

It has been more than 10 years since the newspapers in both Kenora and Fort Frances gave me a shot at writing a weekly outdoors column.
Over all these years, it has been a great platform for me to share my passion for fishing and outdoor activities with our communities, as well as spread the word on all of the great fishing events that take place across Sunset Country.
It’s hard to believe but that is more than 530 columns since I started in the summer of 2007.
Outside of one column a few years ago that was not printed, both papers have given me the freedom to write about whatever I want, which I appreciate.
Most weeks, writing this column is easy for me. I make my living in the outdoor community through competing in fishing tournaments, guiding anglers and hunters, and through promoting these activities, so I am in the field a lot and usually have no problem writing about something relevant to the time of year.
There are times throughout the year, though, when I struggle to come up with a compelling topic and it feels like I’m writing a homework assignment on a Monday night.
Instead of writing about fishing or hunting this week, I’m going to discuss bird feeding in the winter. I live out of town so seeing wildlife pass through my yard is a daily occurrence–and I love it.
Last winter I started feeding birds on a regular basis and enjoyed their presence every day, all winter long, regardless of the weather. I was buying large bags of seed and putting it out as it needed to be.
At the end of the winter, there was quite a mess of cracked sunflower seeds and spillage. So this year, I decided to try the little suet bricks, which hang in a little case.
Birds come and land on the screens and pick at the bricks, which contain a bunch of seeds that they like glued together in the suet mix. I have the feeder boxes hanging in front of a couple windows and one on a tree my yard (they have been fun).
Within a couple of hours of putting them out, they were getting hit by birds and have continued to attract more every day. There are a lot of chickadees, several other smaller birds that I need to identify, some blue jays and grey jays (also known as whisky jacks), and even a few woodpeckers.
My Grandpa was a big bird fan and I inherited several “bird books” from him a few years ago so I have one sitting in my living room now to try and learn my birds a little better.
These birds are very soothing and relaxing to watch as they come and go all day long. Some of the larger birds bully the little ones, but they all get a shot at the food.
I have two cats that spend time outside in the summer but are sort of house-bound now for the winter, so they have been spending a bunch of time watching the birds, as well. It’s like watching TV for them, I think.
Thank you all for continuing to read this column week after week. I look forward to writing it for many years to come!

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