Monday, February 8, 2010

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 02/08/2010

The month of February is National Bird Feeding Month. What better excuse do you need to jump on the bandwagon and start a bird feeding station in your yard or on a patio or balcony? In Arizona statistics reveal that bird watching is a sport second only to golf in participation and revenue generation. Now is the time for the rest of you to join in. This is a very fun and non consumptive way to enjoy getting into nature. And, for those of you who are less adventurous it can be done from the comfort of your home by attracting a wide variety of birds to come to you.

Before you get started you need to consider a few things. Locate your bird feeder in a place that is easily visible to you. If you have a pair of binoculars it can make things easier. You can move your feeder a little bit away from windows so motion inside the house doesn’t scare off your dinner guests. In placing your feeder, be sure it is 3 or 4 feet away from windows so there won’t be any collisions with glass. Also, make sure that there are no hiding spots for neighborhood cats and dogs to lurk and snatch birds that show up for a free meal. If you have a spot that is near large trees or shrubs, the birds will have more places to hide in the meantime. Providing water near your feeder could also be a benefit. I watch my neighborhood birds go from feeder to fountain and back. They stop at the fountain to drink and splash about a bit and then to the feeder to vie with the other birds for the day’s menu.

As for the menu, remember to consider the types of birds in your area due to the season. You also need to think about the kinds of foods each species prefer. During the winter you might attract migrating species and during the orphan season you might be helping mom and dad bird feed youngsters.

You might try black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflowers, whole peanuts, and millet or small seeds. Many stores offer a variety of mixed bird seed for your area. If you are enthusiastic about your feeding and attracting activities, you could add mealworms, suet, fruits or nectar in tube feeders, hopper feeders, platform feeders, or nectar holders.

All you need to finish the fun is time, patience and a bird journal to record who comes to your feeding station. Just remember that you’ll have to fill out the guest register. It is fun to see who visits you throughout the year. Get started and have a great time!

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