Start with a Bird Feeder and Binoculars
For those that love animals but can’t provide a home to a domestic pet, wild birds are just outside the window. Between 50 and 60 million Americans list bird-watching as a hobby. To start, all we need is a bird feeder.
For safety and comfort, position feeders near a tree or bush at least 15 feet from windows. Scott Logan, an Audubon Society board member in Sherman Oaks, California, cautions, “Birds stay alert for predators. An unmarked window looks like an escape route. They won’t see the glass.” Products like Window Alert, a decal that reflects ultraviolet rays birds see but humans don’t, can prevent a crash.
A book on local birds will describe the best food to attract them, whether residents or just passing through. Bluebirds love mealworms. Hummingbirds like floral nectars and orioles prefer citrus flavors. Cardinals and jays dine on sunflower seeds. Always provide unseasoned, unsalted seeds. In cold weather, also remember to hang homemade suet combining one part organic regular fat peanut butter with five parts organic, non-GMO (genetically modified) corn meal. Pour fresh water in the birdbath daily, change hummingbird nectar every three days and discard moldy seeds and old suet.
Feeding year-round doesn’t interfere with migration, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York. Migration, nest building, feeding a new family and staying warm in colder weather require substantial calories. “American goldfinches are social and will stay to eat,” adds Logan. “Blue jays and titmouses are ‘grab-andgo’ birds.” READ MORE