How to Feed the Birds, a Family Activity


by Susan Dunn

Did you know that even in spring, food is still scarce for birds? It's too cool yet for many insect populations, and there won't be any fruit on trees until harvest time.

Feeding birds in the winter is a great family activity. It helps the birds too!

FIRST DO SOME STUDYING & READING

Check out the bird photo library here:
http://birding.about.com/library/weekly/aa020100a.htm

Learn about the different birds!

http://www.gardenartisans.com/birdhouses.html offers a 64-page color flip book called "Early Bird: Common Backyard Birds," with pictures of birds and migratory maps. You can learn to identify and at tract birds to your yard. Also contains drawings and measurements for building birdhouses to suit specific birds. Only $5.95.

Download free kids kit "Learn about Backyard Birds" at
http://www.birdfeeding.org/kids.html

And go here to learn bird songs and calls:
http://birding.about.com/cs/songsandcalls/

WHAT TO FEED THE BIRDS?

There are tons of products available for feeding birds. In most locations, however, the best bet for attracting birds is black-oil sunflower seed. It's got a high meat-to-shell ratio, it's high in fat, and it's small size and thin shell make it easy for small birds to handle and crack. (The striped version is larger and has a harder shell.) You'll want to attract smaller birds, because larger birds like starlings, doves and grackles can cause quite a mess and are very noisy as well.

Never feed birds spoiled leftovers, salty snack foods or sugary cereals. Also NEVER chocolate. Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which is toxic to birds as well as dogs and cats.

Only use peanut butter if you mix it with seed. Alone, it can choke birds.

Different feed attracts different birds. Here's a chart that will tell you about this:
http://birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/BirdFoods.htm

Here are some suet recipes:
http://birding.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bcpl.lib.md.us%2F%7Etross%2Fby%2Fsuetrecs.html

FEEDERS

WATER

Birds also need water so if you put it out, they'll come. According to Cornell U., birds prefer water at ground level (you can just use a dish or shallow pan), but if there's a cat-danger, raise it 2-3' above ground.

MAKE YOUR OWN FEEDERS

Bird feeders don't need to be purchased, expensive or elaborate.

http://www.osweb.com/kidzkorner/feeder.htm gives some great homemade feeder specs including these two:

You can order a birdhouse kit here that you can make with your children:
http://www.gardenartisans.com/kids.html.

EXTEND THE LEARNING PROJECT

Take photographs of the birds and make a scrapbook about this family activity.

Your child can also submit their own stories, articles, activities, poems and artwork here:
http://www.osweb.com/kidzkorner/writeus.htm.



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About the Author

Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . Susan offers coaching, distance learning courses, and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your personal and professional development. She also trains and certifies EQ coaches. Free ezine: sdunn@susandunn.cc. Get Daily EQ tips; send a blank email to EQ4U-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

You too can get in this field (dubbed "white hot" by the press) now before it's crowded, and offer your clients something of real value. Start tomorrow, no residence requirement, global student body. Email for prospectus. Business programs - http://www.webstrategies.cc/eit.htm .




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