Feeder Watch is a very worthwhile program sponsored by
Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Feeders are observed for a
period of time and the number of birds visiting the feeders
is recorded, along with weather conditions and the length of
time observed. This data is used by the lab to track
bird activity in winter. The variety of birds
attracted to feeders in the winter is amazing. Some of
the visitors to my feeders this feeder watching season are
pictured to the right. I am able to attract a large
variety of birds using black oil sunflower seeds, thistle,
suet mixtures, peanuts, and the good old standby...white
bread. You will find more information, including how
to sign up, at the
Home Page. This is a great activity to do with
Winter is the perfect time to plan that
Backyard Wildlife Habitat. Include berry bearing trees and
shrubs that provide food for migrating and local birds.
Blue Girl and Blue Boy Hollies are great choices. You
must plant at least one male if you are going to have holly
berries. Make sure the sex of the plant is marked on
the pot tag. An annual dressing of acid will keep your
blue holly blue. Easy to grow. Planning is
perhaps the most important step to a successful habitat.
A good place to start is to make a list of the birds and
other wildlife you want to attract. Choose plants that
will attract the species you have chosen.
wildlife is gardening at its very best. Native plants, when
chosen, require the least amount of care, leaving more time
for enjoying the garden.
Birds play an important part in planting a natural habitat.
Natural scarification of seeds birds have eaten occurs
during digestion. The seeds are passed in excrement,
landing where it will surly grow to produce fruit and nectar
for the next generation. It is always a treat to see
just what are feathered friends have planted with each new
growing season. It is your choice to keep the new
plants or treat them as weeds. I have a Red Twig
Dogwood the birds planted last year that is growing quite
nicely. Others in my habitat include Pin Oak, American
Holly, and Sugar Maple. You may transplant them once
they have started growing if you don't like where the birds
planted them. Berry bearing native vines are another
plant you may see sprouting up in your habitat.
Virginia Creeper is a
native fruit bearing vine often naturalized by wild birds.
It is an important food source to over 35 species of
birds. Unfortunately it is a poison ivy look a like
and is often destroyed for that reason.