Winter bird watching

Winter bird watching is an activity that the whole family can enjoy. No matter how cold or snowy it is, birds will come to your bird feeder. It is a great activity to teach children to identify birds. Accompanied with a child’s version of a bird book, they can learn about the birds that they see. If you live in an area that is not cold and snowy, you will have the opportunity to see the birds that migrate south for the winter. This is often the only time you will be able to see some species of birds.

To be able to take great photos from indoors, simply hang your bird feeder close to a window. As I write this, birds are perching on my feeders about 18″ from my window. If you clean your windows carefully, you can take a photo without seeing the glass.

Researchers have found that bird watching is a calming pass time. For those who are inclined, you can photograph birds as they come to your feeders or perch nearby. The bottom photo is an Indigo Bunting that was eating the seeds that I spread under my Brome feeder. I took this photo through a window.

One of the problems that people have is that other animals, such as deer, squirrels, raccoons and even bears will rob a bird feeder. If you live in bear country it is important to bring your feeders in at night. If you have deer in your area you only need to hang your feeder high enough so that they cannot reach it. I have never had a problem with raccoons being able to rob my Brome feeders. I have lost one or two to black bears.

Fortunately Brome feeders are 100% squirrel proof. I have tried many brands of feeders and found this is the only one that is 100% squirrel proof. The benefit of having a squirrel proof feeder is that the money you save in bird seed will pay for the feeder in no time. Do check out their line of feeders and enjoy birdwatching. Brome also offers a free informative video every two weeks.

Backyard Bird Watching

You don’t have to hike through the fields and woods to enjoy bird-watching. Most of my bird-watching is through my home office window. I have taken a variety of photos of many different kinds of birds through my window. The secret is to provide an inviting habitat for the birds.

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Bird feeders are a must. I use tube and platform feeders. Some birds like to ground feed and they will go to the platform feeders. It is not hard to make your own platform feeder. Nail wooden sides together and put a fine screen mesh for the bottom. This will allow drainage if it rains or snows. Attach four wires near each corner and use a hook such as a carabiner to hang the feeder. I hang my feeder from a garden shepherds hook. It does not have to be fancy, the birds don’t care.

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The tube feeders that I use are the only truly squirrel proof ones that I have found. They are made by Brome, last forever and the birds love them. What is neat about Brome is that you can subscribe to their site for free. They offer contests and random drawings for a bird feeder as well as a lot of information. I have three Brome feeders for my birds. https://bromebirdnews.com/ I use Black Oil sunflower seeds in the tube feeders and a mix for the platform feeder.

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Next provide a heated bird bath in the winter and a non-heated one for the summer. Water is just as important for birds as food, especially in the winter when it can be hard for them to find water to drink. I have found that a heated bird bath with the heating element built into it is best. The ones that you place at the bottom of a bird bath short out if the water level drops. Even though the kind I use cost more, my birdbath is over 10 years old and still works well. http://www.hayneedle.com

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I also provide a suet feeder for the Woodpeckers. I buy suet from the local butcher in the winter. You can cut the suet into pieces and freeze them. In the summer and also in the winter I use pre-made suet cakes. A variety of birds like to eat the suet.

What is also very important is to place your feeders in an environment where the birds feel safe. Feeders placed under or near trees and bushes will attract more birds then ones placed in the open. If you have the room, plant flowers and trees that provide food for the birds as well. I have a collection of butterfly and hummingbird plants. In the summer to late fall I also put out a hummingbird feeder.

Another way to keep birds coming back generation after generation is to provide nesting areas for them. Bird houses are great and the lint from your dryer placed in bushes or a suet feeder gives the birds plenty of nesting material. It is fun in the early spring when it is time to clean out the bird houses to see how much of your nesting material they have used. Some people put short pieces of yarn out for the birds.

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With a little effort you can enjoy the wide variety of birds that migrate through your area in the spring and fall as well as those who stay all year around.