February is national bird feeding month
By James L. Cummins
Special to The Messenger
Established in 1994, National Bird Feeding Month brings attention to the plight of our wild birds. Since February is typically one of the harshest months of the year, there couldn’t be a better time to help birds survive the elements.
It is estimated that one in three American households feeds wild birds. These birds may be the only wildlife that many people see any more. This is a great way to maintain a connection with nature and reap the benefits of stress-relief and enjoyment from something as simple as putting out food for birds.
Feeding wild birds is easy. Birds aren’t picky about what holds their favorite food, especially during the winter months. It can be as simple as scattering stale bread in the yard or placing birdseed on a tray or plastic plate. Of course, you could also place some type of feeder in your yard or trees.
If you place a feeder in your yard, keep it full so the birds will have a dependable supply of food during the cold weather. Also remember to keep it clean. Don’t be discouraged if you put up a new feeder and the birds don’t flock to it immediately. It can sometimes take a while to locate a fresh source since they find food by sight.
Tree feeders can also be very helpful. A very simple feeder can be made by tying a string on a pine cone, spreading the cone with peanut butter, then rolling it in birdseed and hanging it on a tree branch. Bird feeders do not have to be expensive, complicated, or even purchased at a store.
You need to be sure to avoid placing your feeder in or too close to areas where dogs, cats, and squirrels frequent. They can possibly harm or chase away the object of your new hobby.
Bird feeding can be an inexpensive, educational, and entertaining pastime that can be enjoyed by children and adults. Bringing birds into the yard adds a welcome splash of color, movement, and sound.
The weekend of February 12 to 15, 2021 will be the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. You can join tens of thousands of people who will be counting birds in their backyards, local parks, and wildlife refuges. People of all ages and all levels of bird-watching experience are invited to take part.
It is a great way to learn more about the birds in your backyard and neighborhood. Visit www.birdcount.org for easy-to-follow instructions on reporting your count and tips for identifying bird species.
You can even download a checklist for your area. Get out and enjoy your environment and share the experience with someone else.
James L. Cummins is executive director of Wildlife Mississippi, a non‑profit, conservation organization founded to conserve, restore, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plant resources throughout Mississippi. Their web site is www.wildlifemiss.org.