Looking for a family-friendly activity to do from the comfort of your home this winter? Try bird watching! February is National Bird Feeding Month, so this is the perfect time to get started. More importantly, as you and your family enjoy watching the different birds that come to visit your bird feeder, you help your feathered friends stay warm and healthy.
Begin your bird watching hobby by first choosing an outside location that is clearly visible from inside your home. For example, our family chose our second-story deck, which is visible through sliding glass doors.
Next, decide if you are going to invest in a manufactured feeder, or, if you want to create your own. There are numerous DIY designs and many use common household items. For instance, this suet feeder is created from a cookie cutter, whereas, this super easy peanut butter feeder uses recycled materials. If you feel more industrious, make a log feeder by drilling holes in a log, fill the holes with peanut butter, and then, suspend the feeder from a tree branch. You can also simply spread peanut butter on a tree trunk or branch.
Keep in mind that some birds prefer not to use a feeder at all. For the ones who prefer to forage, scatter seeds on the ground, such as under your deck, or, in or around bushes. The feeder my family uses hangs over our back deck, so when visitors peck for food, seeds also fall to the ground for our foragers.
Regardless of how you feed your feathered friends, remember, all birds need extra energy throughout the winter months. So, make sure you put out high energy fatty foods, such as, sunflower seeds, peanuts and cracked corn, along with the aforementioned suet and peanut butter.
Once your feeder station is set up, it might take a few days before any birds use it. When they do, sit back and enjoy. Go a step further and learn to identify your visitors using WhatBird.com. Additionally, you can keep track of the species that stop by, share your findings with others and add to worldwide scientific findings through ebird.org.
As always, be sure to check out family-friendly, bird watching resources from DBRL. Here are a few to get you started.
- “Every Day Birds” by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
- “Birds” by Jill Bailey
- “The Atlas of Amazing Birds” by Matt Sewell
Want to explore more books and activities about birds with your kiddos? Try out this virtual activity bundle.