National Bird Feeding Month
In January 1994, Illinois 10th District Congressman John Porter read a resolution in the Congressional Record making February National Bird Feeding Month. The observance was established because it's one of the most difficult months in most of the U.S. for birds to survive in the wild. Over the years, this celebratory time period has evolved and many organizations take this opportunity to publicize wild bird feeding. If you already feed birds or are an avid bird watcher, now is a great time to teach a friend, a child or a neighbor the benefits of feeding our feathered friends.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Purchase a bird feeder or make your own.
- The ideal bird feeder is strong enough to withstand the weather elements, constructed to keep the seeds dry and easy to fill and clean.
- Choose your bird food.
- There are four main categories of bird foods you should consider – seed, suet, fruit and nectar.
- Place your bird feeder.
- Position your feeder in a quiet area were they are easy to see and convenient to refill.
Bird feeding is a particularly satisfying hobby for the backyard bird enthusiast or beginner. A feeder draws birds into the open and nearer to the house, where they can be observed easily. Few birds, however, will stray far from protective cover, even to enjoy a free meal. Feeders should be placed close enough to shrubs to afford some protection, but not so close that hungry cats can use the shrubs for camouflage. Feeders should be about 4’ high and about 10’ away from any squirrel launching points. Nectar feeders should be placed out of direct sunlight, about 4’ high and it’s recommended to position them around trumpeting plants as the natural vegetation allures hummingbirds to come to your feeder for a tasty nectar meal.
The benefits of feeding birds include:
- Seeing, identifying and relaxing in the company of the most observable and graceful animals in the world
- Pollinating your flowers and plants
- Learning about the birds that visit your feeders, their food preferences, behaviors and personalities
- Insect and weed control
- Photographing these beautiful creatures
- Interacting with nature
- Capturing memories and sighting that rare bird
- Citizen science: learn more here
- Outdoor pets
- Providing food - when it is scarce or if they are preparing for their annual southward journey
- Hearing birds sing
Here is a great interactive tool to learn about birds that are common to your area, what type of seed attracts different species of birds and what style feeder you should try out. We encourage you to feed the birds all year long, but please make an effort to feed them during the National Bird Feeding Month. The birds will thank you!
What are your tips for February feeding? Share your experiences in the comments and keep those feeders filled all month long!
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