Sign up to participate in the 114th Christmas Bird Count in December. Make it a family activity. There is no cost to participate. It is not only an exciting event but provides a benefit for our birds. You can sign-up to participate, going out in the field to count the birds you see or hear, or register to count the birds coming to your backyard bird feeders. Every bird counted matters. The Christmas Bird Count is one of the most important counts along with the Great Backyard Bird Count and Project Feeder Watch. This is a great way to relax and enjoy nature during the busy Holiday season.
It looks to be another great year for winter bird feeding. We are already seeing northern populations of Goldfinches arriving and more are sure to join them. I am hoping that Pine Siskins will be abundant this year at the thistle feeders since they are always a joy to see. We have also had a few reports of Purple Finch and many have seen Red-breasted Nuthatches. Depending on snow accumulations in northern territories and the availability of natural food resources will determine what northern bird species will drift south showing up at bird feeders in the lower 48 states. This makes winter bird feeding exciting since you just never know what birds may be arriving in the Midwest and Central Great Plains to spend the winter. Keep alert for any new or different birds that may appear in your yards and be sure to let us know. Have your binoculars and field guide close at hand.
Keep the bird feeders filled. Providing supplemental food sources during the winter months has been determined to increase the survival rates of birds during harsh winter weather. Many birds have wandered into our backyards in search of food. So as we move deeper into winter, supplemental foods may make the difference in the survival for many of these birds. It may be a good time to add a new feeder to your bird feeding program. Maybe include a suet feeder. Add another finch feeder. Or it could be time to provide a ground feeder for ground feeding birds. Additional bird feeders prevent over-crowding and allow more opportunity for birds to feed.
Remember that water becomes scarce during extremely cold weather. Keep fresh water for your birds all winter long. This may be a good time to invest in a bird bath heater or heated bird bath if you haven’t already. Most of these products carry up to a three year warranty and are well worth the cost. You’ll be surprised at how many more birds you will attract with open water.
Invite a friend over for coffee or hot chocolate and watch the birds at your feeders. Your excitement will surely wear off on them and it may inspire them to begin feeding birds. Have your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews sit down with you and watch the birds. You’d be surprised how interested they are to watch nature if given the opportunity and how observant they become. It’s a great way to relax during the Holidays and helps us to remember what the spirit of the season is all about; life on earth as part of a natural community.
Consider giving bird feeders for Christmas this year. Remember how excited you became when you hung up your first feeder and saw the birds arrive? Bird feeders make terrific gifts that may begin someone on a life- long experience. They are one of the few gifts that are used all year long and on a daily basis.
Whatever the season it is always bird feeding time and the staff at the Wild Bird Habitat Stores not only wish everyone a joyous holiday season but good birding as well.