As winter approaches, many home birdwatchers begin to pay more attention to their back yard feeders. In the winter, food sources are not as readily available for our feathered friends, and they appreciate folks that supplement their food with backyard feeders. Feeders placed in the yard also enable residents to birdwatch from the comfort of their home.
Birding is one of the fastest growing hobbies, with over 48 million birders in the United States today. Perhaps because it is an activity available to folks of all ages and levels of fitness, and can be done almost anywhere. Birders say they enjoy the thrill and enjoyment that birdwatching brings.
Birding may be done with no special equipment, but you may want a pair of binoculars for studying the birds up close, and a field guide for identifying birds is always helpful.
Birding is also a great activity in which to involve children over the holidays. Children can decorate a tree for the birds with peanut butter pinecones, popcorn garlands, and other easy to create feeders. Together you can watch and identify different species of birds. Who knows, you may inspire a lifelong hobby in a child or at the very least an appreciation for nature.
If you do choose to feed the birds in your yard, there are a few simple rules to remember.
- Be consistent. Once birds decide you yard is a reliable food source, they’ll return often expecting to find nourishment. You may want to have a range of feeders and food because different species prefer different types of food, so in order to see a wider variety of birds, have a variety of food.
- Clean out feeders regularly. Wet seeds grow mold, so be sure to clean any old food from feeders.
- Provide fresh water for both drinking and bathing.
- Protect birds from ground predators like cats.
- Enjoy the birds!
If you are an avid birdwatcher, you may want to participate in t the Christmas Bird Count, December 14-January 5 or the Great Backyard Bird Count, February 17-20, 2017.