Bringing Birds Home Starts With A Bird Feeder | Way of life

Editor’s note: This is an introductory column by Vincent Spada, a bird enthusiast from Methuen. His column will air regularly on Mondays, most often but not exclusively focused on backyard birdwatching.

Winter has faded again and the days are longer and warmer, which means it’s time to get back to outdoor activities, such as sports, camping and gardening. However, a sometimes overlooked hobby is bird feeding and bird watching, which many people actually do all year round. But beginners may wonder where to start.

If you are lucky enough to have your own garden, you need look no further. Even a small patch of greenery in a crowded city can harbor a treasure trove of feathered friends.

The ideal spot in your garden would be near a tree or bush. Birds, especially songbirds, need to feel comfortable when eating, which will allow them to easily escape in times of danger. (Hawks!)

Once you’ve decided on your location, it’s a good idea to visit the local hardware store or department store. It should be stocked with a wide variety of different sized bird feeders. They might even look like mini houses or houses. These can be hung from a branch or nailed to the thick part of a tree trunk. If you’re worried about damaging your maple or oak, you can use wire and wrap it around instead.

You might also be interested in purchasing a pole feeder, which is designed to deter squirrels – however, such a thing is difficult, as these creatures are very persistent.

Now that you have your feeder(s), what type of seed is best? The same stores you visited for the bird feeder should have a ready supply of inexpensive wild bird seed. It is often a mixture of various seeds, such as millet, sunflower and cracked corn. Bells and seed cakes may also be available and are a good alternative if you decide not to use a real feeder, as they can be hung anywhere. But again, a general mix will attract a variety of birds, so it’s best to branch out.

Now that your feeder and seeds are ready, it’s time to choose {em}your place, i.e. where you will sit to watch. You’ll need a good, comfortable front-row seat. A porch is always a possibility, or an open kitchen window. But don’t get too close or you’ll be birdwatching without the birds.

Arrange your seeds in generous portions. You’d be amazed at how quickly a herd can clean you up, even in minutes. and if possible, also provide fresh, clean water. A birdbath is one option, but a simple shallow container will also suffice. It can be placed on the floor under the feeder and will give visiting birds a chance for a quick drink. Quite often it’s even more important than the seeds, so it’s definitely something to consider.

So, you have everything prepared and you are ready to take a serious look. You have your binoculars, your camera, your notebook. Just one problem: Where are all the birds?

Yes, it can be disheartening at first to see an empty bird feeder swaying in the breeze. Don’t take it to heart, because it’s not personal. Just give them some time to notice the new food source you’ve provided, as it may take a few days.

Trust me they will understand and before you know it your backyard will be filled with bird music.

Born and raised in Methuen, Vincent Spada is the author of three books, as well as a plethora of poems, short stories and essays. Contact him with questions or ideas for his column at [email protected]

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