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Backyard Bird Watching

Because we’re all staying home, a new hobby has become extremely popular across the country: bird watching. Here on Long Island, we have quite a few native birds to see and some invasive ones as well. We have all sizes and shapes from tiny Sparrows and Hummingbirds to huge Osprey and Cranes.

 If you’ve recently taken up backyard birding and you’re looking into attracting these birds to your yard, then look into a backyard birder’s best friend: the bird feeder. Bird feeders are definitely the easiest way to ensure that you’re attracting feathered friends. You’ll find all sizes and shapes out there to help you attract wild birds. When using bird feeders it is important to keep bird feeders full all year round, as birds may grow dependent on the supply. You can buy bird feeders, hummingbird feeders, and bird food of all kinds at your local Brinkmann’s Hardware Store. 

When setting up your bird feeder, place your bird feeder where you can see it from a window, but not too close to the house as the spilled seed may attract rodents. Squirrels LOVE birdseed, so keep that in mind when choosing a location and type of feeder. 

When attracting hummingbirds you need hummingbird feeders! These feeders use hummingbird nectar or sugar water instead of the traditional seed. They should be about 10–15 feet from cover because hummingbirds don’t like to be out in the open for too long. If you’d like to make your own hummingbird food, try this recipe from the National Audubon Society.

• 1/4 cup refined white sugar [Please do use refined white sugar! Honey can promote dangerous fungal growth while organic, natural, and raw sugars contain levels of iron that could be harmful. Plain white table sugar is sucrose which, when mixed with water, very closely mimics the chemical composition of natural nectar.]

• 1 cup boiling water

• Bowl

• Spoon

Note: There’s no need for red dye here. The red coloring is not necessary and the chemicals could prove to be harmful to the birds. 

Steps:

1. Mix sugar and boiling water until sugar is dissolved. 

2. Cool and fill the feeder.

3. Hang up your feeder outside and wait for the hummingbirds to come.

If you want your birds to stay, birdhouses are another addition you can make to your yard. It can be fascinating to watch birds first make their nests and then hatch out young; so if you want to experience that, make sure you have a few birdhouses around the yard. 

Finally, another way to attract native birds to your yard is to grow native plants. Native plants can be a backyard birder’s best friend as they attract many of the insects that native birds eat. Once you’ve got your feeders and houses set up all that’s left to do is sit and wait. Sooner or later those birds will arrive, so be sure to get your bird book, and your camera, ready!

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