Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February is National Wild Bird Feeding Month~ taking care of our feathered friends

My girls this week have been busy feeding our bird friends and a few squirrels in the learning process. We have saved and recycled with some of these cool ideas. As a homeschool of course it is a month to learn.
                    Make a homemade bird feeder! February is National Bird Feeding Month
Celebrate the wonder and joy of our feathered friends by celebrating National Wild Bird Feeding Month! Unlike a lot of special days, this holiday is actually official. In 1994, Congress proclaimed February as National Bird Feeding Month to encourage people to feed, water and provide shelter for wild birds, especially during the winter months. Get your kids together and make your own homemade bird feeder crafts with these great ideas!

From http://funfamilycrafts.com/tag/bird-feeder/

                         Cereal Bird Feeders

Simple wire and cereal feeder, shape into hearts or any form you wish, add some ribbon and hang up.

                             Orange Bird Feeder

Cut and hollow out oranges into halves, punch 3-4 holes evenly around the "cup" string twine to hang, fill with favorite seed mix. We also used apples cut in halve and covered with peanut butter, then dipped into sunflower seeds.

    Pumpkin Bird Feeder
A unique pumpkin feeder is created easily with small pumpkins or gourds halved and cleaned out inside. Use twine to string up, place the leftover pumpkin seeds inserted into the flesh around the edges I think adds a neat touch and seeds for them to eat.
Paint Can Bird Feeders
Recycle your cans into cute and colorful bird nesting or bird feeders, painting with a nontoxic paint and adding ribbon to them.

What is the best food to give your feathered friends? Our NC bird friends love sunflower seeds and safflower seeds, in addition to suet with peanuts and millet.
I learned a ton of great information here at The National Bird Society site Here www.birdfeeding.org/nbfm.html
Different bird species have different food preferences. To learn more about the bird seed preferences of your favorite species, view the NBFS Wild Bird Food Preferences for your region.
Bird Seed
sunflowerThere are nine types of seed commonly found in bird seed blends: black-oil sunflower, cracked corn, Nyjer®(formerly known as thistle), red milo, safflower, striped sunflower, sunflower hearts (also known as sunflower chips or hulled sunflower), white proso millet, and whole peanuts (peanuts out of the shell and split in half). Of those seed types, four have been shown to be most attractive to birds: black-oil sunflower, Nyjer®, sunflower hearts, and white proso millet. Learn more about what bird seeds birds like best.

Meet Your Bird Seed

What bird seed attracts the greatest variety of birds? What bird seed helps you attract new species of birds to your yard? Meet your bird seed to find the answers.

Bird Behavior and Bird Seed Preferences

A bird's behavior can tell you its bird food preference. Learn how to determine the bird seed preferences of the wild birds visiting your yard.
Other Bird Food
hummingbird drinking from feederOther bird food offered at feeders includes suet, nectar, fruit, and insects. Suet is very attractive to a wide variety of species including woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, Carolina Wren, and Tufted Titmouse. Suet comes commercially packaged or can be purchased from the butcher. Commercially packaged suet can be fed year round. Nectar is offered to hummingbirds and orioles. Nectar should be provided in a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Nectar can be made at home, and purchased commercially in powder or liquid form.
© Roger Mayhorn
Many species of birds are frugivorous. Providing apples, bananas, oranges and raisins can help attract species such as orioles and mockingbirds. Insects, particularly mealworms (flour beetle larvae), are readily consumed by a large variety of insectivorous birds such as bluebirds. By offering these additional wild bird foods, you may increase the variety of birds visiting your backyard, thereby enhancing your experience.

Top Ten Bird Feeding Tips
Use these ten simple steps to enhance your wild bird feeding experience.
Click here for a printer-friendly version of the NBFS Top Ten Bird Feeding Tips.
Wild Bird Feeding Tips1. Bird feeding is for people who love watching birds - Always place your bird feeders in places where you can readily and frequently see the birds you are feeding.
2. Start with the basics - Black-oil sunflower in a tubular feeder is a very effective combination for attracting a large number of birds to your yard.
3. Attract more species by adding additional types of feeders and seed - Try Nyjer® in a tube feeder, and mixtures of black-oil sunflower, hulled sunflower, and whole peanuts in hopper and platform feeders.
4. Don't forget about alternative foods and water -Suet, fruits, mealworms, nectar and water may attract species of birds not found at traditional offerings.
5. The bird species in your yard change with season of the year - The birds visiting your feeders in summer may be very different than those in winter. Provide the feeders and food best suited to your seasonal suite of birds.
6. Make your yard bird-friendly - Provide birds with habitat, food, water, and nest boxes so birds will use your yard year-round. Bird feeders near larger trees and shrubs often have more bird visits.
7. Keep the birds safe - Reduce window collisions, keep birds safe from outdoor cats, and clean your feeders. Move feeders to within 3 feet of windows, remove hiding places of cats, and keep feeders free of debris and filled only with seeds birds will eat.
Top Ten Bird Feeding Tips8. Use binoculars and a backyard bird guide to learn more about your birds - Learning more about birds by using the tools of the birdwatcher provides you with a greater appreciation for your feathered friends.
9. Take your hobby to the next level - Explore your local, state, and national parks and refuges. You will see bird species you can't see in your yard.
10. Enjoy feeding the birds! - Contact the NBFS anytime you have questions about bird feeding or for assistance in enhancing your bird feeding experience!

If your Homeschooler wants to learn more about birding visit the NBFS website or we are working on Zoology I Apologia's Flying Creatures of the 5th Day. Available via Amazon or or booksellers.

Happy Birding!

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