“I would like to recognize February, one of the most difficult months in the United States for wild birds, as National Bird Feeding Month.”, said John Porter, Congressman from Illinois, on 23 February 1994, as he passed a resolution for protection and welfare for birds in America.
If you aren’t part of that 1/3rd American population that feeds birds then here are some rookie tips to get you started-
1 Add a feeder to your yard
This is the basic requirement for feeding the birds and it needn’t cost you a penny. Pinecones, plastic bottles, teacups, etc., can be tweaked to function as a genuine bird food dispenser.
It is a good idea to install even more than one feeder as every species has its own preference, or taste if you like. Also, certain feeders are made for different types of feed.
2 Fill it with all things nice
Milo, wheat, oats, suet, cracked corn, fruits, peanut butter (yes, they are not allergic to it. In fact, they will thank you for this protein-rich diet), mealworms, white millet seed, sunflower seed, nyjer seed, and much more.
3 Be patient
It may take a day, a week, or a month for a bird to first discover your hand out. If you live in an urbanized area, you need to work harder to choose the right type of food. Also, you need to take care to place the feeder in a prominent location as birds will find it by sight.
4 Want to pamper them? Add Heated Water
In harsh winters, hot water is not only fit for drinking but also inviting enough for a bath. The upside of this latter activity is that birds will spend more time in your yard and invite their flock, too.
If you are already a bird feeder and need to level up your game then there is nothing better than to participate in the Annual Great Backyard Bird Count event and join them in gathering data online which will be used in citizen-science projects.
Held between 18-21 February, this four-day event organized by the National Audubon Society is open to all, requires no traveling, and is free for participation. This year you can expect a little extra since they are marking their 25th anniversary of bird study.
If you are a parent to a toddler, then this is a great preoccupation for his curious mind. Enrich his vocabulary with ten bird species as you teach him the difference between an airplane and the Californian condor. This hobby will not only improve his observation skills but also make him sit still at one spot for over five minutes. You’re so welcome.
Few things to keep in mind while bird feeding
• Keep your feeder out of reach for cats
• Be consistent in supplying food and freshwater as birds grow dependent on their feeders. Any lapse could affect their chances of survival once they get used to your feeder.
• If you must leave town in between this period, ask a neighbor/ friend to refill it regularly.
• Clean your feeders and change the seeds every month
5 ways to get more out of your bird feeder
Research on what they like to eat. Woodpeckers are partial to tree nuts, whereas robins are to chopped apples.
Research on the types of feeders available. These are specific to the bird species. Generally speaking, there are seven distinct types of feeders- tube, hopper, tray, thistle, nectar, fruit, and suet feeders.
Sprinkle some food on the ground or on top of the feeder to get noticed quickly.
Get a bird book to identify the birds and learn about their habits.
Bring together a comfortable chair and a set of binoculars to enjoy a good view from your kitchen window. Bird watching helps you connect with mother nature and reduces stress as per the attention-restoration theory.
Keep a journal for chronicling their peculiar behaviors. Sketch your darlings and share them with your family and friends.
Build a natural habitat for your favorite species by growing their native plants.
This year America will celebrate its birds under the theme- Winter Comforts, Feed the Birds, and Keep Them Happy and Healthy. This slogan is relevant for all times as nature’s treasures will always require mans’ thoughtfulness.
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