Tag Archives: feeding birds

Valentine, Shmalentine… February is for the Birds!

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February can be a frantic month for people, with emotions often running high from pressure to create the perfect display of affection, spend inappropriately on gifts, exaggerate a new or undesirable relationship, or feel penalized for not being in a relationship. Geez! No wonder so many people HATE February.

February can also be a frantic month for birds. WHY? Because February is one of the most difficult months for wild birds in terms of natural food and water supply, at least in the United States. In fact, John Porter (R-IL) proclaimed February as National Bird Feeding Month on February 23, 1994, when he read a resolution into the Congressional Record encouraging individuals to supplement wild birds’ natural diet of weed seeds and insects by feeding the birds in their own backyard.

SHOW SOME LOVE to the birds all month long by providing them with mixed wild bird seed or suet. And bird feeders don’t need to be expensive to be effective. You might even enjoy making a few DIY feeders yourself. Why not make one for your lovebird for Valentine’s Day? (Hint to my darling husband.)

Spotted Towhee Bath 1Don’t forget, the birds also need water, not just to drink but also to bathe in – a requirement for keeping feathers in top flight shape. If you have a birdbath already, make sure it’s clean and fill it to the brim. If you don’t already have a birdbath, a make-shift bath is just as practical. At our cabin in New Mexico, I placed a shallow plastic dish on the ground, added a large rock from the property for the birds to perch on, and filled it with water. The birds won’t mind that I didn’t spend a lot of money on it.

AND… if you’re a romantic at heart, what could be more precious than spending Valentine’s Day with your loved one enjoying nature by feeding and watching the birds?

Yes, the sign at our house reads, Birds Eat Free! And I will make sure they eat free all month long. Will you join me?

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Confessions of a Backyard Birder

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I’m going to use an analogy to explain my foray into blogging, but first you need to understand why birds fly into windows. It’s usually because birds flying toward a window see the reflection of sky or trees instead of the pane of glass; they think they are following a clear flight path. And then, WHAM! They hit the window and fall to the ground.

As long as the bird isn’t traveling at too fast of a speed when it hits the window, it may bounce back after a few minutes of being stunned and fly off again. That’s why it’s suggested to:

  • Identify which windows are the problems
  • Place bird feeders closer to problematic windows, to help reduce the bird’s flight speed upon collision
  • Place colorful decals on windows to break up the reflection of the sky or trees
  • Hang wind chimes or other decorative items in front of windows to deter birds from flying toward them

A related problem is when birds attack windows (rather than flying into them), which usually occurs in the spring when birds are defending their breeding territories. I see this most often with the male cardinals, who will sometimes attack my vehicles side-windows when he perceives his reflection is an intruding male.

HELLO WORLD! Welcome to my Blog, where I’ll share my secret confessions of being a backyard birder!

Blogging is a PERFECT idea because I LOVE my backyard birds. I’m even now a proud member of the over  65 million Americans who enjoy feeding birds in their own backyard as a convenient way to appreciate and study nature; at least that’s the statistic from the most recent Census Report. Too bad I don’t get a special certificate for this.

But here’s the big question: As a first-time blogger, do I have the strength needed to bounce back from the challenges of blogging? Ornithologists estimate that up to 100 million birds are killed each year by collisions with windows. I wonder how many blogs die each year by collisions with distractions, time constraints, and competing priorities – all thought to be a clear flight path but leading to certain death for the blog.  Will I have the strength to dust myself off and fly again?

Will my husband come home one evening to find me dazed from hitting the bloggers window, place me in a shoebox, and leave me somewhere warm and quiet, out of reach of pets and other predators, until I recover?  If I know him, he’ll probably even place a little blanket covering over me. (AWE.) Yes, he’ll care for me the same way I care for the birds, because that’s just what he does.

Speaking of bird, I spotted another American Goldfinch today! They are beautiful but uncommon in my backyard. A few days ago there were four of them, and today there are at least a dozen.  And, these little beauties don’t seem too particular about food.  They’ve been back and forth between the suet feeder and the mixed seed.  Good thing I added the thistle feeder early this morning.

Okay, time to take a break. Rocky is demanding my attention. Sweet ol’ girl. Her little claws are stuck in my robe; a constant problem with Snowshoes because their claws don’t retract.

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