Feed Wild Birds all Winter Long with our Expert Outdoor Birding Advice.
February became National Bird Feeding month in 1994 by Congressman John Porter. Being one of the toughest months of the year for birds to survive, he was determined to help feed birds during this time. The month encourages people to provide food, water, and shelter to wild birds in areas with cold temperatures and limited natural resources like plants and berries. Participating in National Bird Feeding month will help populations survive winter and provide you some entertainment in your yard. Where should you get started celebrating this month?
Four Tips for Keeping Winter Birds Happy:
Add Another Feeder to Your Yard
Or get your first feeder if you don’t have any! Adding new feeders to your yard can attract new types of birds. Different birds prefer different feeders. Similarly, certain feeders are made for different types of feed.
Target new species and attract multiple types of feathered friends to your backyard for more entertainment this winter. The birds will appreciate the extra food available to them on snowy days.
Some birds will also be preparing for migration further north and need the extra food for energy before their long trip.
Add Heated Water to your Yard
Birds are surrounded by frozen water in the winter. They need drinking water and an area to clean up, which is where you come in. This February, add a heated birdbath or fountain to your yard. This will not only provide an essential resource to your feathered friends, but you will likely attract more birds to your yard. Birds gather in areas where they can find reliable food, shelter, and water.
Birding tip: Make sure you are consistent with fresh water and food each week because birds will become used to the resources. Keep it up all winter and the birds will remember your yard as a safe place full of what they need!
Participate in the Annual Bird Count
During National Bird Feeding Month each February, the National Audubon Society coordinates the Great Backyard Bird Count. Birders from around the world count birds to help gather data online. This data is used to create an online citizen-science project. And it’s free for participants!
This year is the 20th anniversary of the four-day count on February 17-20, 2017. To participate, Register Online Here, then take 15 minutes or more to count the number of birds and any kind of birds you see.
Do you have to live in a specific region? Nope! You can live anywhere in the world to participate. It could be from your kitchen sink looking out into your backyard, in a field while cross country skiing, or anywhere you see birds!
Why should you participate? Scientists use this data to get a better understanding of bird migrations, populations, and any fluctuations year over year. And it’s fun!
Learn a New Species
Everyone has a favorite bird. The beautiful red cardinal that stops by your feeder every morning, or the sparrow that sings songs when you’re on a hike. But there are so many birds to see! Learn a new species this month and figure out how to attract them to your yard.
Could you identify a Dark-Eyed Junco? How many types of woodpeckers can you name? Explore the many varieties of birds and learn a new species this month. This Guide from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a great place to start.