Join the Christmas Bird Count

Categories: Wild Bird

 

Christmas Bird Count

Its that time of year again! Between December 14 and January 5, the National Audubon Society holds the annual Christmas Bird Count, when birders from all flights of life dedicate one day to becoming citizen scientists. The great thing about the Christmas Bird Count is that anyone can participate. Are you are an experienced ornithologist? Or have you just hatched so to speak into the world of bird watching? Whatever your experience, you will be welcomed by the other volunteers

CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT RULES

The National Audubon Society considers the Christmas Bird Count a scientific study, and as with any scientific research, there are rules and guidelines that should be followed. Be sure to read the Compilers Manual. You can also ask your local compiler about how the count is conducted and what rules to follow.

ARE YOU IN OR OUT?

If you have a bird feeder that sees a lot of traffic, ask your compiler if your feeder is within the designated circle. If so, you may be able to participate from the comfort of your own roost!

Of course, you may decide it would be more fun to be out in the field. If this is the case, and youre fairly new to the Christmas Bird Count, ask to be paired with an experienced member. Dont be shy, bird enthusiasts love to share their hobby, and will be more than willing to help another birder out.

Christmas Bird count

PLAY NAME THAT TUNE

Birds are counted whether they are seen or heard, so in the days before beginning your count, brush up on identifying the local fauna by sound.

Many university ornithology departments offer sound clips of various species on their websites. If youre going to be counting with a partner, take turns playing songs and guessing the bird.

FIND YOUR FEATHERED FRIENDS

Dont forget to study the physical attributes of local birds as well. A good resource is the expansive state-by-state listing of birds on Wikipedia. Here's a link for North Dakota's birds, for example. Looking for your own region's birds? Just type in "List of birds of (your region)." It also might be useful to bring along a bird field guide. Cornell's ornithology department has its own bird ID app — The Merlin!

SCOUT AHEAD

If youre going to be trail blazing on your count day, we recommend that you hike your planned trail a few days before. Doing so will make you more familiar with the territory and the birds that frequent those locations.

MAKE A LIST, CHECK IT TWICE

These items will be helpful if youve decided to venture out for the Christmas Bird Count.

>> FOOD: Lunch, as well as snacks & a full thermos

>> EYES: Binoculars for spotting birds at a distance

>> RECORDER: Camera for creating a record of your sightings

>> CLOTHES: Seasonal appropriate clothing — Layered and warm, if needed.

>> WARMTH: Fast-acting heatpads, like HotHands if you’re experiencing cold weather

>> NEW TECH: A smartphone for GPS, communicating with your team, or identifying birds. There are even a few free apps, such as Cornells Merlin app, dedicated to bird watching.

>> OLD TECH: Walkie Talkies can help, depending on your location. You might not always have a signal for your phone, so to ensure communication with your team, youll want to bring this old-school technology.

WHAT'S YOUR PLAN?

Tell us how you prepare for the National Audubon Societys Christmas Bird Count. Tag us on Twitter @PerkyPetFeeders, or post to us on Facebook to share your stories, photos, and suggestions with us! 

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Guide To Decorating with Bird Feeders

Categories: Seasonal Bird Feeding

 

SHSM00356 1 300x300 Guide To Decorating with Bird FeedersAs the holiday season approaches more and more houses will get wrapped in glowing strands and adorned with bountiful wreaths. You may find yourself wanting more options to make your home stand out from everyone else on the street. If youre as much of a bird fanatic as we are, then this guide to decorating with bird feeders will help in creating a customized holiday display!

Perky-Pet Feeders

There are countless ways to spread holiday cheer around your house while simultaneously feeding your feathered friends. You could simply arrange a variety of feeders around your yard to attract different types of birds. The No/No Mesh Feeders, specifically the Snow Man and Snow Woman feeders, were created just for this time of year. These feeders are constructed with a mesh wire design that keeps the squirrels out and attracts clinging birds. If you want your holiday-themed bird feeder to contribute to your lighting, try our snowman feeder that lights up!

Certain feeders are good for specific types of birds, as well as specific types of seeds. With that in mind, we also recommend offering a variety of seeds. Doing so will bring more kinds of birds to your yard.

If you are partial to cardinals, try placing a few suet blocks with mixed seed and fruit, and use black oil sunflower and safflower seeds. This mix will also attract birds like the red-breasted nuthatch and downy woodpeckers.

Handmade Holiday Feeders

Feeling creative? There are several handmade holiday feeder options that the birds will enjoy pecking at!

Popcorn strandsiStock 000007050465 Small 300x224 Guide To Decorating with Bird Feeders

You know those strands of popcorn some people use for interior decoration? Well, try hanging them outside and let the birds have a feast! Wrap them around evergreen trees in the yard, making sure to use plain popcorn (no salt, no flavoring). This is a fun activity to do with the kids.

Grained Bread Cut Outs

Take your holiday cookie cutters and make fun shapes in stale — but not moldy — grained bread. Next you can attach a string through the center of the bread and spread peanut butter on both sides. Finally, sprinkle bird seed over the bread and hang from the trees around your home.

Pine Cone Feeder iStock 000018886280 Small Guide To Decorating with Bird Feeders

Take a pine cone and tie a piece of string to the top. Smear peanut butter and cornmeal into the cracks of the pine cone. Next, roll the pine cone in bird seed so that it sticks in the peanut butter. Feel free to add nuts, cranberries, and cereal as well, and hang it outdoors.

Decorating your home with a mixture of holiday lights and feeders will ensure that your home will certainly add a special touch to your home. Passers-by and visiting birds are sure to appreciate your effort. Remember to use a variety of feeders and seeds to attract multiple types of birds, and to add to the overall look of your holiday display!

Got any other birdhouse decorating ideas? Share them in the comments below. 

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Top 5 Things To Consider When Buying A Bird Feeder

So you think you’re ready to invest in the long-term health and well-being of mother nature’s beloved wild birds? The bird feeder market is saturated with product features, designs, and promotions for varying types of birds and utility purposes, so it can become overwhelming. Just remember the bird feeding basics.

Follow these five tips when shopping for bird feeders:

1. FEED LONG TERM

Don’t settle for the cheaper feeder simply for convenience, because you’ll most likely end up replacing it. Bird feeding is not just a hobby, it’s a long-term investment. Plus, your bird feeders are likely to endure freezing temperatures, sun and rain, and numerous backyard pests; such as squirrels, raccoons, and feral cats. Your best bet is spending a bit more upfront for a feeder with a product guarantee.

2. GO BIG

This is where convenience is on your side. Consider the harsh winter months and constantly going outside to refill your bird feeder… it doesn’t sound ideal to us. Birds typically eat a half their weight in seeds per day. Upgrade to a feeder that holds 12 lbs. or more seed. With that much inventory, you can watch the continuous cycle of wild birds visiting to feed from the warmth of your home!

3. USE COMMON SENSE

Choose feeders with no sharp edges or points; the design should allow birds to perch away from the food to keep it from becoming soiled. Set up more than one feeder and allow ample space between them to avoid crowding. Check out great birdfeeding tips from the Humane Society.

4. SQUIRRELS — PUBLIC ENEMY No. 1

Don’t let nature “run its course” when it comes to bird feeding. If you do, the squirrels will not only cut out your bird watching and feeding time, but they will likely destroy your feeders too. Opt for a “squirrel-proof” feeder from the start, and be sure to avoid tray feeders that pose an open invitation for squirrels and chipmunks. Other ways to keep sneaky squirrels off of your bird feeders is by pole-mounting the feeder, adding a baffle, and choosing the right location.

5. BE READY FOR THE MESS

Simply put, birds expel where they consume, so it's up to you to clean and sanitize your feeders on a regular schedule. When searching for your next feeder, remember plastic, steel, or glass feeders are easier to keep germ-free than wood or clay, which are absorbent and difficult to sanitize. 

Bird feeding is just like any other investment. It takes research and commitment to care for another life. Overall, your bird feeders should be easily filled, emptied, and cleaned. 

Just remember the bird feeding basics when shopping for your next bird feeder!

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