Letters to the Editor: December 11 – 17, 2014

The Editor:

I have been feeding Anna’s hummingbirds for three years. Four are visiting my feeders on Pipeline Road. One is a male and the other three appear to be females.

When the temperature drops, I pull my feeders each evening when it gets dark. In the morning, I put them back out. When temperatures drop during the day, I monitor the feeders, pull them inside when they freeze, and replace with my back-up feeder.

I agree – Anna’s hummingbirds are Blaine’s Christmas bird.

Dianne Bird
Blaine

The Editor:

Regarding the letter on hummingbird feeders for winter weather, I have been feeding four to five birds all winter – this year usually four. The feeder needs two layers of gasket-material rubber cemented to the bottom with a hole slightly smaller than a one-cup stainless steel measuring cup, as the warmer works best on a flat-bottom cup and a 25 watt cup warmer.

Hot water in the measuring cup keeps the feeder thawed and warm. Make sure to check the water every other day and refill as needed. I fill the resting slots for the perch with spackle compound as the other types of putty tend to stick to the hot cup.

William Irwin
Blaine

The Editor:

I, too, have hummingbirds wintering over. I was reprimanded by a couple of people who made me feel really guilty for interfering with the hummers’ migration.

I called the Wild Bird Chalet in Bellingham and learned:

1. Hummers have been wintering over in Whatcom County since the 1950s. (So there, know-it-all people!)

2. The ratio for their juice should be 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the burner and let the pan sit on the burner until the contents are cool. I use organic sugar from Costco.

3. Rinse the feeder thoroughly with hot water every time you change the water.

4. Take it in at night to keep from freezing and put it out every morning. If you are really concerned with freezing, use two feeders during the cold weather, changing them out as needed.

5. Hummers will feed more often during the winter because they need the energy to withstand the cold.

Colleen Marie
Blaine

The Editor:

There are three existing Cherry Point businesses – BP Refinery, Alcoa-Intalco Works and Conoco-Phillips – and none of them has endorsed the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT). The GPT proposal gives our existing Cherry Point industries significant reasons for concern. For them, GPT would be a horrific neighbor.

In a 2011 court case, BNSF testified that coal trains destabilize railroad track beds and cause train derailments. GPT’s 18 daily coal trains would use the very same railroad track as BP’s and Conoco-Phillips’ crude oil trains and as Alcoa-Intalco’s chemical product trains. The last thing our existing Cherry Point industries need is for anything such as GPT to increase the likelihood that their trains would derail and/or explode.

GPT’s coal ships are another reason for the Cherry Point industries to oppose GPT. Not only are coal ships the biggest commercial ships on the sea – twice the size of the oil tankers allowed in Washington state ports – coal ships have the worst safety record of all commercial ships. Because coal ships are too big to move in a single shipping lane, they move down the middle, creating hazards and delays for all other industry ships and increasing the likelihood of catastrophic accidents in our local waters.

And for BP management and staff, who work so diligently to operate their refinery safely, GPT would continually assault their efforts. GPT’s six-story high, 2.5 miles of uncovered coal stockpiles would be just across the street (Aldergrove Road) from BP. Each year it’s likely that three million pounds of coal dust would escape from GPT’s uncovered coal stockpiles. GPT’s windblown coal dust would continually deposit and accumulate on BP structures, sensors and valves, increasing the likelihood of malfunction and catastrophic accident.

Our existing Cherry Point industries strive continually to operate safely. True supporters of our Cherry Point industries who carefully study the official GPT project application understand that GPT would significantly endanger the safe operation of BP, Conoco-Phillips and Alcoa-Intalco. Our existing Cherry Point industries deserve and need our community to support their safety efforts, and that means opposing the proposed GPT.

Paula Rotundi
Blaine

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