Feed the Birds

Elaborate and decorative or simple and functional, birdhouses and birdfeeders are lovingly coveted by many people (and birds)!

The collector seeking a new piece for the den or study need only consider personal taste and aesthetics- many who enjoy the careful art and craftsmanship of a beautiful birdhouse or feeder would never think of placing their precious gift outside in the rain and other elements.

The serious or novice birder, on the other hand, has just a bit more to consider. With a minimal amount of work and some forethought, anyone interested can enjoy observing and identifying birds from their own urban or rural yards or decks throughout the entire year. It is possible to attract up to one hundred different species of birds to a yard with the careful placing of just a few feeders and houses!

While any type of birdfeeder or house will prove itself a delightful addition to your landscape, you should ask yourself just a few questions to guarantee that your bird-attracting efforts are successful for both you and the birds.

When choosing the type of feeder or house you need or want, you should consider the following:

Are you trying to attract a wide variety of birds or a specific type of bird?

How often do you want to clean and refill the feeder?

Do you want to see the bird close-up from a window or would you rather lessen the possibilities of window strikes?

Are you ok with starlings and jays that like to perch and can dominate a feeder, or are you trying to attract strictly smaller clinging birds like chickadees and nuthatches?

Further considerations include pests (squirrels?) and predators (housecats?).

This may all seem like a lot, but really, there are many resources at your local library, bookstore or on the internet that are not only interesting, inspiring and fun to read but will help you answer these questions in hardly any time at all.

How easy it is to become excited about the prospects of birdsong in the spring and a little life and movement in the middle of a dreary winter. Don't let the common misconception that birds become dependant on supplemental food from feeders and fail to thrive, or even die, if that food source is taken away hinder you from welcoming these highly interesting and lovely creatures to your home. This is not true! Conclusive studies from the University of Wisconsin and Penn State attest to this. Regardless of feeders, birds will continue to forage for the majority of their food. In reality, you are providing just a little luxury and ease in the relatively short and difficult life span of most birds. Now isn't that a nice thing to do?

If you're looking to spark a new hobby, searching for a unique gift, providing an educational opportunity for your children or just want to do something nice for birds, think about birdhouses or feeders. They are just plain charming and fun!

Children especially enjoy the feathered visitors that birdhouses and feeders bring about. Creating a bird habitat and feeding ground is easy. Rather than sitting in front of your TV, computer or X-box, try enjoying the abundant life and nature that can be found as close as your own backyard.

We could all use a little innocence and simple pleasure in our lives these days. Bird watching is an inexpensive, relaxing and enlightening activity for all. Well made and beautiful feeders and houses abound and they make wonderful gifts for any age. Don't forget to do something nice for yourself either! Feed the birds and they will come!

Note - Make sure cats in your immediate area have bells tied around their necks to warn birds of their presence. (You might also try this technique on annoying neighbors and unwanted salesmen!)

Happy birding!

Judi Hunter is an avid bird fan, attracting everything from finches to hummingbirds in her own backyard. Visit http://WindyHillsInc.com for delightful birdhouses and birdfeeders.

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