I haven’t been on Facebook much lately as I’ve been preoccupied with selling our house in Texas and moving permanently to what has been our second home in New Mexico. We made our final trip to Houston last week to pack up our belongings and I was surprised at how much I have missed the birds in our backyard there… birds we don’t have in our backyard in New Mexico, including the beauties shown here (blue jay, black-capped chickadee, cardinal).
As my husband gingerly pulled down the vacated bird houses and uprooted the shepherd’s hooks and cement birdbath to take to our little slice of heaven in New Mexico, I started to cry. A rush of memories swept over me as I recalled every tender moment I had spent feeding, photographing, and talking to the birds in our backyard there. I remembered:
- The red shouldered hawk who took down a white-winged dove just 10 feet away from me, and how conflicted I felt at the sight
- Watching a male cardinal court his mate by feeding her as part of their mating ritual
- The sweet little wren tugging at pieces of straw from the weathered wicker basket, only to fly away with her just reward as she prepared a nest in the neighbor’s yard
- The activity and chatter of the many families of blue jays over the years, and how they would chastise me when the feeders were empty
- The hum of the hummingbirds at the feeders I’d put out in September and October so they could fill their bellies before moving on to their next stop on their path of migration
- The many early mornings of sitting out back with my camera and cup of fresh hot coffee, listening to the symphony of birds before the rest of the neighborhood had cranked up their powered lawn mowers
Even now, as I reminisce over the birds in our backyard in Texas I am so very grateful for the many pictures I had taken over the years. By taking all these photographs, I have created and salvaged my own sweet memories.
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Did you know? The average wild bird weighs less than two nickels, and winter can be a very punishing time for our backyard friends. This explains why in 1994, John Porter, Illinois’ 10th District Congressman read a resolution that February would become National Bird Feeding Month. His proclamation was designed to encourage people to feed wild birds throughout the entire month when food sources are most scarce.
In fact, millions of wild bird enthusiasts now traditionally make special efforts in February to feed, watch and protect wild birds. Over 50 million people regularly feed wild birds in the USA, long recognized as one of the most popular outdoor activities for adults and children too.
Want to show your support? Here are some ways you can get involved:
- Help spread the word by sharing this post with everyone you know.
- Comment about National Bird Feeding Month on your Social Media Platforms.
- Take pictures of birds at your feeder and post them on your Social Media Platforms using #natlbirdfeedingmonth.
- Familiarize yourself with our unsung heroes and share your knowledge with others.
- Stock up on bird seed and suet to keep your existing feeders full throughout the month.
- Make this easy DIY bird feeder to pass out to friends and colleagues on Valentine’s Day.
- Give an inexpensive feeder and wild bird seed to someone you love.
- Add something new to your backyard station (i.e. birdhouse, feeder, birdbath).
- Symbolically adopt a bird through the National Wildlife Federation adoption program.
- Purchase your “I Love My Backyard Birds” women’s Tee to show your love of birds.
- Host a bird-watching party in your own backyard.
- Sign up for the Great Backyard Bird Count which will be held between Feb 17 and Feb 20.
February is one of my favorite months of the year, and even more so because it’s National Bird Feeding Month. In fact, just last weekend I purchased another 80 lbs. of wild bird seed to stock up. Yep, we’re going through that much in about a month’s time, so if the birds aren’t in your backyard they’re probably in mine. Lol.
Anyway, I’m hoping you’ll jump on my bandwagon and do your part to feed the birds this month and promote backyard birding as and educational and environmental adventure. Because, February really is for the Birds! Literally.
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As we move into February, also known by birders far and wide as National Bird Feeding Month, I thought I’d share my favorite tips for feeding birds during the remainder of our cold winter days. And please pay special attention to the don’ts listed below, too!
Happy birding! 🙂