With hectic holidays behind, we hope yours were most joyous and that you received everything on your list. And because today is actually National Bird Day… we found the tweet below to be spot-on!
What is about feeding birds that folks find so magical? It’s a chore at times to trudge through snow, to keep bird feeders clean or to scoop out wet mushy seed after rain. But we do it… for the birds. Or so, we convince ourselves it’s for the birds!
Why is National Bird Day even on the calendar? The hobby has blossomed into a national past-time with more folks than ever partaking. For varied reasons behind wanting to attract backyard birds, it’s a calming, peaceful, simple yet wondrous joy that abounds when focused on watching. Not to mention the 23rd annual Great Backyard Bird Count and becoming a part of citizen science. More on that in our next post!
Rewarding beyond explanation… that’s the fun part. Just ask a bluebird landlord or purple martin enthusiast who’s witnessed successful fledglings. Or the person who’s just experienced a first hummingbird close-up. Simply mesmerizing might be an understatement.
In part, like gardening (which goes hand-in-hand with creating suitable habitat) it might be the promise of tomorrow. We feed birds partly in hopes of enticing them to nest in our yards and to watch their families thrive. We know their natural habitats are shrinking, so it becomes a feel-good kind of endeavor.
The other part is that simple connection to nature. It’s universal; unplugged, uncluttered, sans the daily chaos. A simple state of zen for many folks, stealing a few moments to watch feathered friends flit around the yard might be the most relaxing part of the day!
So keep this in mind when stumped for an awesome and useful gift that’s long-lasting. And not just for holidays or birthdays… unique bird feeders will “offer solace in times of grief”. That’s a direct quote from a customer review, the recipient was comforted by a most thoughtful gift with the ability to bring true joy. It’s also where “cardinals appear when angels are near” came from as well as the belief that hummingbirds might just be angels!
A brisk 30 degrees in Atlanta this morning, but you can bet we were up & out early… filling the bird feeders!
Wishing you a birdie happy & healthy new year!
The anticipation brings several chores for winterizing; bringing plants inside (when there’s absolutely no room for them), covering outdoor spigots- but first disconnecting the umpteen attachments for misters and birdbath drippers, digging out bird bath heaters stored from last winter and maybe even weatherstripping a few windows because the wind is just howling right now.
And then there’s the birds!
Though they’ve done pretty well at surviving winter on their own- there’s lots you can do to make it a little easier for them. In return they’ll grace your space through long and dreary winter days.
- Clean and fill all bird feeders with fresh food as last night’s rain (but of course) made for some nasty birdseed. Nobody likes mushy seed.
- Fresh suet if it’s been sitting out for a while. Now’s the time to switch from no-melt warm weather suet to the gooey stuff filled with lard or fat. It’s higher in calories for birds to stay warm overnight.
- Add another suet feeder because so many resident birds partake in cold weather. Check out the easy recipe for bluebird banquet and whip up a batch for the first cold snap! Not just for blues, your chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, warblers, wrens and others love this stuff!
- Nyjer seed should also be replaced if sitting out for more than two weeks or so and if you’ve had substantial rain.
- Bird Bath heaters… just can’t say enough if you want your bluebirds to stick around through winter! We use one heated deck-mount bird bath and 3 separate heaters in other baths around the yard. Fresh water is critical in winter, especially when all natural sources tend to freeze. And it’s the easiest way to attract birds to the yard! Now, when squatting and walking like a duck under the screened porch to plug-in the one heater… be sure to hit your head really hard on the floor of screened porch above- ouch! Nope- we have no picture for that but can promise it literally takes your breath away ;(
- Peanuts and peanut butter are fab winter foods! Mix peanuts with seed on a platform feeder or try peanut butter right on a tree trunk. Warblers, nuthatches, jays and woodpeckers will go for it!
- Winterize birdhouses by first repairing any damage and sealing vents with weather stripping or duct tape. Lots of birds line their roosts with dried pine needles or leaves. Offer wood shavings or nesting materials to help them decorate!
Happy birding and bundle up… it’s cold out there!
Recently published by Cornell Lab of Ornithology was a pretty amazing and eye-opening article about the disappearance of birds. Audubon was on board way back in in 2013 with “Why Birds Matter” on their cover- and today’s email “Climate Change Pushes Birds to the Brink”. Research by the Journal Science confirms statistics. It’s all quite alarming though meant more as a wake-up call because birds really do tell us about climate.
A link to the article appears at the end of this post and well worth a few minutes to read! Graphics are superior and the comments prove most interesting. In short, here’s 7 easy ways to help birds… beyond the obvious bird feeders. Politics aside- whether you believe in climate change or not, humanity is choking… on plastic, on pesticides, on itself. There’s clear and simple suggestions to do any of these tasks in the article link below.
- Make Windows Safe
- Keep Cats Indoors
- Plant Native- Reduce Lawns (great website for your zip code)
- Avoid Pesticides
- Switch Coffee to Shade Grown
- Reduce Plastics
- Citizen Science Watch Birds & Share Observations
A few noteworthy fall birding tips:
Leave a hummingbird feeder up even though your guys may have split! The Hummingbird Society strongly recommends this as it’s a total myth your feeders will cause them to stay. Lots of sightings further north (in mid-October) and most of these stragglers are juveniles and females who require calories for southern migration. Most of summer’s nectar producing flowers have since withered. Keep your hummingbird feeder fresh and full.
When raking leaves and fallen branches… leave a small pile in the back or corner of your yard. Brush piles offer both forage and shelter for birds.
Consider a birdbath heater this year, just add to your existing bath instead of storing it for winter. Always keep fresh water accessible as some birds will never touch your bird feeders or birdhouses!
Copy this URL in your address bar… it’s absolutely worth a look!!
Happy Fall Birding!