One of my favorite pastimes is bird watching and one of the easiest ways to do that is to treat them to a banquet. If you have a garden, grow flowers, or maybe just love nature birds are great pollinators to have around.
I have always been fascinated with birds. They are strikingly beautiful, make beautiful music, and seem to endure the harshest conditions. I've learned to mimic some of their calls and it amuses me when they answer back. No doubt, my neighbors probably think I have a few screws loose. It does nothing to hinder my spirit for they know not the secret language of the winged wonders of this world.
Fine Feathered Friends
"Different strokes for different folks"
I've lived in various environments myself whether it be right next to the woods, in the heart of town, or here on the farm and one thing I've noticed is that some birds aren't particular and some I can only see in certain areas. Here on the farm, I steadily see chickadees, robins, cardinals, eastern bluebirds, blue jays, house wrens, winter wrens, red-winged blackbirds, barn swallows, buzzards, crows, blackbirds, common grouse, titmouse, goldfinch, nuthatch, doves, various woodpeckers, and mockingbirds. Though occasionally, I see an indigo bunting or a hawk. We have owls too but I hear them more often than I see one.
Bringing Them Closer
If you want birds to hang out with you, you will need to provide a suitable environment filled with things they like. One thing you'll need is a birdbath. Mine sets underneath a shade tree inviting a nice cool drink or a bath. Bees like it too so I place a stick down the center. This offers the birds a place to rest if they just want to drink and still have room to bathe. It also provides the bees something to cling on to safely drink without drowning.
Another thing that will bring in the birds is feeders. Many birds will happily visit feeders though some don't. Such as the mockingbird. Even though I have a few mockingbirds around, I have yet to see one at the feeder. I haven't been stocking it with grasshoppers though, that could be why. I prefer the black oil sunflower seeds for my feeder. It is a favorite among the birds. Several birds like thistle seeds however, I stay away from them. Otherwise, my yard would be full of thistles and I don't want that.
This is the first year I have put out suet cakes and the birds are crazy for them. Even though they make short work out of them, (and my seed feeders too) I wait a couple of days before I put another one out and fill the feeder. My theory is, that I don't want to spoil them by being constantly fed. They need to retain the ability to forage for themselves. I am more apt to feed them more regularly during the winter when food can be scarce or hard to get to.
The birds are really digging the suet cakes. At some point, I will try making my own but for now, I have been purchasing them with coupons at my local Kroger grocery store. So far, the berry suet is the massive favorite by far. The second favorite is the High Energy suet cakes with the Peanut Butter ones coming in last. They will eventually finish them but they aren't devoured nearly as quickly as the berry ones.
Save The Leftovers
A great thing about having hungry birds around is I can make use of certain leftovers. Of course, not all leftovers are suitable for birds but things like fruit and bread though are terrific. In my family, it's difficult to finish an entire loaf of bread, I usually have a couple of slices remaining. Instead of tossing it in the trash, I just save it for the birds and/or the chickens. Fruit too, we usually can eat most of the fruit before it starts to go bad but more often than not, there are some leftovers. Birds are especially happy to find fruit in the feeder.
Quick & Easy Recipe
We have eggs for breakfast all the time and sometimes I save the eggshells for my garden. This past winter, I discovered that birds like them too. In early spring, the birds are having their babies and eggshells are a great source of calcium for the momma birds that are feeding their young.
Next time you have eggs for breakfast line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the eggshells on the sheet and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. This kills off any bacteria that may be there making them safe for the birds to consume. Next, you will need to crush the shells before serving them to the birds.
It's still a little cold outside in early spring to put up my birdbath. However, it makes a suitable stand for me to make a 'food stand' for my bird friends. I found an old square tub, turned it upside down, and placed it on my birdbath pedestal. This makes a suitable surface to leave a smorgasbord of goodies for the birdies.
We have some leftover strawberries, blackberries, and eggshells.
The blackberries disappeared with most of the strawberries and eggshells. Overall, I feel it was a success. Whatever they don't eat, just spread it in your garden. They still don't view me as the 'bird whisperer' as they still don't let me get too close. Many of them are starting to get used to me and don't fly away when I am around. Luckily my cat couldn't care less about birds, he doesn't make any trouble for them. The most he does is lay around and watch them curiously. He's not one to waste energy on anything, he saves it all for grooming and playing with his toys. If you have active outdoor cats that are avid hunters, place your feeders well out of reach so your bird visitors can eat and/or bathe safely.
If you are wondering how to bring some birds into your environment, I hope you find these tips useful. I find few things better than sitting on the porch with my morning coffee watching and listening to the birds doing their thing. Have a blessed day and thanks for reading.