We really love birds in this family. This love started a little over a year ago while my daughter and I were studying birds as part of her homeschool curriculum. Since then, we have studied about all 50 state birds, birds of North America, birds of the Western Hemisphere, birds of Australia, and so on. We have also covered more classical studies of birds as well as utilized the Charlotte Mason method of studying of birds. We have started paying very close attention to birds outside, trying to spot new species for our "life list” and have even watched bird cams online. Together, we attended a bird club meeting in our area and have read countless books on birds, both fiction and nonfiction.
Because my daughter and I love birds so much and because they are important pollinators, we want to live bird-friendly lives. We want to make our yard a welcoming and safe place for birds to make a home or just stop for a visit. It has not been an overnight process and we still have plans for things we want to do, but we have started transforming our yard in to a bird-friendly area.
The first thing we did was to put up bird feeders. However, before that, we had to research what most birds in our area like to eat. We discovered that most birds love black oil sunflower seeds, so that's what we purchased. Since we live in a wooded area, and there are lots and lots of squirrels running around, we chose a bird feeder that would be more squirrel proof than feeders we had several years ago—the squirrels chewed them up in a few months’ time. A wonderful birding friend sent us another feeder, so now our birds have two options for their black oil sunflower seeds. In addition to the black oil sunflower seeds, we put up a suet feeder from time to time for the birds that prefer this type of food.
From late Spring to early Fall, we have Ruby Throated Hummingbirds in our area, so during this time we put out nectar feeders for our fast flying friends. Once the weather turns cooler and we haven't seen any hummingbirds for a while, we take them down because the glass can crack once the temperature drops below freezing. We did just find out that some hummingbirds will overwinter in our area and will come to feeders that are out (although these feeders must be kept warm to avoid cracking—there are many safe ways to do this).
The next step to creating a more bird-friendly yard is to add a few bird boxes. Our birding friend once again sent us a nice gift—an Eastern Screech Owl nesting box! Let me tell you, we were so excited to receive this and we hung it in a tree in the back of our yard. We hope an owl will find it and take up residence! We plan to add other bird boxes very soon. The county we live in offers nature classes for kids and in February, we will have the opportunity to make bird boxes for native songbirds.
Finally, we hope to add a bird bath this year since water is very important to birds for many reasons. Did you know that birds that bathe in water use the water to help their feathers stay optimal for flight?
If you want to make your yard bird-friendly, there are so many good resources online. Our local Audubon chapter has an entire webpage and certification process designed to help people make their yards bird-friendly. Perhaps you have a similar program in your area!
Written By: Paige L.
Photo By: Paige L.