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Bird Watching: A Whole New World in Your Own Backyard

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2020-03-15 21:42:00



No matter what is going on in the human world, each year we look forward to the beginning of spring as the time when the natural world comes back to life. As snow melts, grass gets greener, and flowers begin to make their way to the surface of the soil, the quintessential sound of spring begins returning too: the sound of birds chirping in the trees. It’s the perfect time to do some bird watching, also known as birding, right from your own backyard.
 

Most of the time, many of us are a little too busy to really notice and appreciate the feathered friends that begin to flock back north this time of year. But now is a perfect time to discover the beauty of nature that’s unfolding right in your own backyard. And if you’re ready for some fresh air and sunshine but still need to stay close to home, there are things you can do to bring the birds to you—no matter which part of Upstate New York  you live in.
 

Some of us may have backyards that back up to habitats the birds love already—wooded areas, marshes and streams tend to draw many types. But if you haven’t seen much activity in the past, this is a great opportunity to set up a bird feeder, bird house, bird bath—or all three-- and see which species you can draw to your yard. And because March and April are typically tough times for birds-- spring food sources aren’t sprouting yet, but winter’s resources are dwindling-- you’d be doing the birds a big favor by setting up a sanctuary for them. In return, you can enjoy a relaxing activity that brings nature right to your back door.
 

pdfThe National Audubon Society has a downloadable guide  to bird feeding basics that will show you exactly how to set up your bird-friendly yard.  There are four factors to consider when setting up a bird-friendly area: food, feeder, water and shelter. Different types of bird seed, nectar, suet or other items are tastier and more appealing to different types of birds, and so are different styles of feeders. All birds, but especially song birds, need plenty of fresh water, so a source like a bird bath, refilled often from your garden house, is a big draw. Setting up sheltered sites around your yard will also encourage birds to nest nearby and visit often.
 

Birding can be a fun and fascinating activity, especially for kids. New York State is home to nearly 500 species of birds, and each species has its own unique coloring, call, and characteristics. Getting to know them as they visit your yard is an opportunity to teach kids about animals, plants and the ecosystem, and for adults to slow down, relax, and appreciate the nuances of nature that too often slip by us during the busy times in our lives.
 

If you’re new to the world of birds, there are resources that can help you get started. You can order or even download field guides to birds that help give an understanding and appreciation of the different species; it’s satisfying to recognize which type of bird a song belongs to, and learning about their habits and preferences reveals a whole new world going on outside.


There are also plenty of bird books, fact sheets, coloring pages, and checklists and other tools  to be found online that are geared toward teaching kids about birds; you can even make it a game to keep track of the different types that visit your yard. And, right now, the New York State DEC is asking the public to a 2020 Breeding Bird Atlas  that will let them know about the bird population in different parts of the state. So don’t fret about staying close to home for now—the birds will thank you for it!
 
 
PHOTO CREDITS
Bluebird Photo credit Dennis Murphy
Cardinal photo credit Jeff Sharp

Goldfinch on feeder photo credit Airwolfhound
Birdhouse photo credit Ted
Great Tit on bird feeder photo credit Stanze

Siskins on bird feeder photo credit Tom Lee

 
posted at: 2020-03-15 21:42:00, last updated: 2020-08-26 20:14:58

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