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Backyard (and Lake) Birding Tips

Bird feeding adds so much to our enjoyment of nature as it draws these little feathered friends into the human environment where they can be observed at close proximity. There are certain responsibilities, however, which come with this privilege in order to protect the health of our guests. An article by Astrid Kasper DVM.

How to baffle your bird feeder. Location is the key to using a baffle to keep squirrels away from your feeder. Your baffle will only work if the squirrels can't jump around it. And squirrels can jump 8 to 10 feet horizontally and four feet up from the ground.

If you find a baby bird (with no feathers or only pin feathers) on the ground, locate the nest, which should be nearby. Gently pick up the baby and place it in the nest. Make sure any other babies in the nest look like the one you're replacing. Watch from a distance to see that a parent returns. If you find a fledgling bird (with feathers, but often with a short tail), leave it alone and keep cats, dogs, and children away. At this age, the bird is hopping and jumping, just learning to fly. Its parents are still feeding it and it will learn to fly in a day or two. By all means, if the baby is truly orphaned or injured, bring it to a local wildlife rehabber -- in our area Lindsay Wildlife Museum Hospital -- for care. Note: these organizations always appreciate any donations.

Attracting Birds to Your Feeder -- a cross-references showing what foods are best for attracting our local feeder birds and a listing of what feeders are preferred.

You can easily make hummingbird nectar yourself: here's how. oriole nectar is just as easy. Once the birds recognize the feeder, no red color is necessary.

Enhance your backyard birding experience. Wild bird habitat shrinks every day -- both globally and locally -- and many species of birds have exhibited frightening declines in numbers, even over the past several years. Creating a landscape desirable to birds is not difficult, but requires some understanding of natural habitat.

Feeding Preferences of Wild Birds. Here are the scientific facts on what birds prefer what foods, written by Aelred Geis, Ph.D., of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dr. Geis's findings have been cited in almost every major book on bird feeding written in the last ten years, including the Ortho Series on Attracting Wild Birds, and the Audubon Society publications.

Conversation with a Hawk


One thing we hate to see when we look out the window into the backyard is a brownish streak that zips through and snatches a songbird. The culprit is usually a Cooper’s Hawk or a Sharp-shinned Hawk. And, to make things worse, to watch it eat the bird in front of you. I happened to be out in the yard filling bird baths when this exact thing took place, literally a few feet from me. Luckily, the hawk missed its victim and landed on the bird bath.

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