Comprehensive Bird Feeding Posts (for Northeastern NA)
All right, kittens. It’s pretty much once in a blue moon that I post something that is actually useful, but it’s that time of year, and this is an activity that brings me a lot of joy, so I figured I’d share.
Why you should feed the birdies.
First and foremost: because it’s fun! It’s gratifying, at least for me, to come home after school or work to a bunch of wild birds taking advantage of my feeder setup. It makes me feel connected to nature, lets me see wild birds up close, and gives me something to look at other than veterinary notes and the internet every day. You get to learn your local species and see some interesting behaviors right there outside your window :)
Second, it’s nice for the birds. In this day and age, with wild habitat shrinking and human settlements encroaching upon what’s left, it can be very helpful for birds to have a feeder they can go to during hard times, especially in more urban areas where vegetation during the colder months is practically nonexistent.
Third, it’s great for indoor cats! Have a bored indoor cat? Set up a bird feeder where he or she can see it from the window. Boom: instant kitty entertainment. My cat loves it, and it gives her something to do beyond sleeping all day when I’m not home.
And let’s just debunk this myth…
Feeding the birds will make them dependent on humans: not true. Will they take advantage of a feeder if it’s there? Of course. Will suddenly taking away the feeder doom them to starvation? No. It’s the same thing as the birds losing a wild food source, say if a bush runs out of berries or whatever. Will some birds die? Well, if it’s a particularly hard winter, and that feeder was the one thing making it possible for the weaker birds to survive, then yes. But if it had never been there, they would have, in theory, died anyway.
So don’t worry about a birdfeeder upsetting the natural rhythms of your local birds. Also don’t worry about it ruining their migration patterns. Those are dictated by things like day length, not by food availability.
So how do we start?
Let’s go through types of feeders in this post!
How many pigeons does it take to use a drinking fountain? In Brisbane, Australia, apparently the answer is three! Earlier this month, a trio of industrious birds Down Under figured out how to operate a water fountain by observing humans and then making their move when the coast was clear. The feathered friends reportedly spent 10 minutes bathing and sipping from the fountain, taking turns pushing the lever for each other until all were quenched. Who are you calling a birdbrain now?