Bird Feeding Primer

Bird watching offers a lifetime ticket to the theater of nature. Now the fastest growing outdoor activity in America, bird watching, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, engages 51.3 million people, some venturing to far-away places but most watching through kitchen windows.

Want to be a part of the action? If your yard offers attractive bird habitat with naturally occurring sources of food, water, and shelter, you may need nothing more than a good field guide and decent binoculars. Unfortunately, however, even yards with the most abundant naturally occurring food sources—insects, seeds, and berries—tend to go bare in the hard months of winter. Then you may choose to attract more birds for your viewing pleasure by supplementing with feeders, birdbaths, and nest boxes.

Fall makes the perfect time to start feeding. Resident birds visiting your yard—like Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Blue Jays, Carolina and House Wrens, and American Goldfinches—will find your offerings early. In turn, their activity will attract winter visitors, like Dark-eyed Juncos, W
White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows, Red-breasted Nuthatches, maybe even Pine Siskins. By the time snow flies and ice turns the world crystal, you’ll have a score or more species dining while you watch.

Your theater ticket to nature gives you a front-row seat to birds gathering around the bar—buffet bar, that is. Add water, be it simple bird bath or something more elaborate, and some cozy nest boxes that double as winter roost boxes, and you’ll have a stage beyond compare. Your theater reviews will be five-star.