is an entertaining and educational way for young and old
to pass boring winter days. Even preschool kids can
participate and practice their counting and color
birds becomes even more important during the Great
Backyard Bird Count Feb. 12-15.
use your data to analyze bird populations, migration
patterns, habitat needs and identify endangered species.
Data will be powered by eBird (www.eBird.org), an online
checklist program for all of the world’s 10,240 bird
species, according to a news release. This year’s
count is the first time it’s open to birders
worldwide. Birders can view what others see on
interactive maps, keep their own records and have their
easy to participate in the bird count — just count for
as little as 15 minutes or as long as you want. Count
birds you see at feeders or at local parks, fields and
woodlands — anywhere you happen to go. Then tally the
numbers of each species you see, and report your
findings online at www.BirdCount.org.
by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National
Audubon Society with Bird Studies Canada, the four-day
event helps scientists study migration patterns and
overall population numbers.
is a wonderful hobby for all ages and a wonderful window
into natural world," says Shirley Devan, a
Williamsburg, Va., resident who documents her many
birding activities on Facebook. She’s also a member of
the Williamsburg Bird Club.
love watching the birds interact around the feeders. For
example, Carolina chickadees grab a seed from the feeder
and fly back to a protected spot to eat it — then,
return for another seed and fly away. On the other hand,
American goldfinches take a seat at the buffet table, or
tube feeder, and hang out for quite a while as if they
are at a coffee shop using the Wi-Fi."
is National Bird-Feeding Month, a time to put out seed
and suet that brings birds to your backyard feeders
where you can watch them.
all birds fly south for the winter," says Richard
Cole of Cole’s Wild Bird Feed — http://coleswildbird.com.
who do are likely looking for their favorite foods —
nectar, insects or fruit — that aren’t usually
available when the weather turns cold. Birds that eat
seed are more likely to stay put, and that means you can
entice them to your backyard by serving their preferred
meats: bluebirds, warblers, robins and woodpeckers.
chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, grosbeaks,
sparrows, blackbirds and jays.
millet: ground-feeding birds like towhees, juncos, song
sparrows, doves and Indigo bunting.
cardinal, chickadees and titmice.
or thistle: finches.
most birds; woodpeckers especially like peanut-filled
may not mind eating from dirty feeders but feeder
cleanliness helps prevent them from getting a common eye
disease, according to research led by scientists at
Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
monitored the social and foraging behaviors of wild
flocks of house finches, a common backyard songbird, and
the spread of a naturally-occurring bird disease called
Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, according to a news release.
The disease is similar to "pink eye" in humans
but cannot be contracted by humans. Infected birds have
red, swollen eyes that can lead to blindness, and
ultimately, death, as a result of not being able to see.
birds isn’t a bad thing for humans to do, as it helps
birds survive the winter. However, the researchers
recommend that bird feeders be cleaned and disinfected
each time they are refilled to help reduce the
likelihood of spreading disease.
Williamsburg, Kathi Mestayer goes to great lengths to
make sure her backyard birds are pampered during cold
weather. She shovels snow and ice off leaf litter in the
wooded area, so the birds have easy access to the leaf
litter for foraging.
we did that, juncos and sparrows and Carolina wrens were
all over it," she says.
make homemade suet for cold weather feeding, Mestayer
saves bacon grease in the fridge. Then, she lets it warm
up to room temperatures, adds peanut butter at the ratio
of one-third bacon grease, two-thirds peanut butter;
birdseed, grape nuts, other nuts and hot sauce are added
to the mixture.
night, Mestayer brings the bird bath indoors to sit in
the laundry sink where it comes to room temperature
instead of freezing over again. The next morning, she
puts it outdoors and fills it again.
a lot easier than trying to chip the ice off it,"