Varied Thrush Feeding on Salt

  • Varied Thrush Feeding on Salt is a video I took this winter on Cohen Drive in Juneau.
  • I am not sure that salt is what this bird is eating -- but the size and color appears to be a salt product.  
  • This winter I have seen several groups of these thrushes feeding on and along our roadways in Juneau. 
  • In the Juneau Audubon Christmas Bird Count a total of 120 Varied Thrushes were counted. This is a record.
  • On occasion dead thrushes have been seen and picked up along our roadways. I suspect most have been hit by cars. But I wondered what effect salt may have on these birds so I did some literature searching.
  • There has been quite a few studies of the effects of salt on the environment and certain creatures. For a list of references look at /sites/default/files/Effects%20of%20Road%20Salt%20on%20Creatures%20and%20the%20Environment.pdf
  • The most common deicer used on our roads appears to be /sites/default/files/CG-90%20Surface%20Saver%20Anticorrosive%20Deicer.pdf
  • Of interest is the number of studies that discuss the harmful effects of deicers on aquatic insects and fish. It would be interesting to look at and analyze the snow that is piled in the bus parking lot at the Mendenhall Glacier. Also to try and learn if any salt products are entering Steep Creek near the glacier visitor center. 
  • A study of the possible leaching of salt into fish streams along the Juneau road system could be a good one for a student or ?