Friday, January 22, 2010

January is also National Bird Feeding Month!

Outside my office window is a feeder like the one in the picture on the right. Sometimes that feeder has ten or more birds on it at one time. Birds of many sizes and colors visit all year round at my feeder. My husband, Bob, has to fill the feeder once each day with black oil sunflower seeds to keep the birds happy. (We call this feeder the "babysitter" because our cats sit on the window ledge inside and watch the birds for hours.)

We live on the edge of a woods (The Cathedral Woods that I write about in my Rooter and Snuffle Books.). When we moved here there was almost no vegetation on our property. No vegetation means no wildlife, or birds of any kind. It made me very sad. :-(

We investigated to find out what kind of trees and plants would attract birds and wildlife. Slowly but surely we planted as many of these plants as we could find. Plants that attract birds must provide a food source that birds like, and provide shelter from the elements and preditors. Sometimes it takes months or even years for plants to grow enough to be attractive to birds. We needed help now.

We built different kinds of bird houses and feeders and set them up around our property. We bought different kinds of bird seed mixes to fill the feeders. We bought suet blocks to hang in the trees during the colder months. We tried putting out fresh fruit pieces for the fruit loving birds. Hummingbird feeders are a wonderful source of entertainment as the colorful birds dart back and forth from flowers to feeders, often chasing each other away from a favorite spot. We scattered cracked corn on the ground to attract pheasant and quail.  The quail would remind us when they ran out of food with a call that sounded like "Where's my corn? Where's my corn?"

Question: What food did Noah use in my children's book "Nothing Stops Noah" to get the birds to return to their cages?

Recipes abound for food you can make for the birds. Most important: Provide places for birds and other wildlife to bathe and drink. If I were starting over I would do this before I did anything else. When you are done you will find birds of unimaginable variety visiting your yard. I recommend you find a good book for identifying the birds in your yard. Take pictures of the birds that visit. Use a recorder to record their songs. Have fun!!!

2010 (c) Sharon A. Soffe


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Those milk carton feeders are adorable!

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

They are cute aren't they. They look like they would be easy to make.

I am trying to include resources to coordinate with the day/week/month.

Shari 0:-)

Sharon said...

Hi Shari,

We have the privilege of living on a small private lake and this morning on my way out to the car I scared up a crane (I think). It took flight to the other side of the lake, but its one we see often. Thanks for the reminder about feeding the birds! Another idea for a bird feeder is to take a fat branch (maybe an inch and a half - and drill holes in various places, pack the holes with homemade bird food and hang it up somewhere.


Shari Lyle-Soffe said...


Wonderful idea! You can also stuff pinecones with your "bird food" recipe and hang them from the trees.

I had a blue heron that visited our property to steal goldfish from our pond. It was wonderful to see him up close and I couldn't blame him for doing what he had to to survive. Years ago we had a small pond for our pet ducks and it was visited by Wood Ducks. They are so pretty. What a treat.