Tip on how to attract birds in the winter

Photo by Chris Bosak A Northern Cardinal, left, and an American Goldfinch perch in a tree near a feeding station at Cove Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Stamford, Conn., in March 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Northern Cardinal, left, and an American Goldfinch perch in a tree near a feeding station at Cove Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Stamford, Conn., in March 2015.

Here’s a press release shamelessly used in full here from the National Audubon Society. It’s good information, so here it is. (The post is jazzed up by one of my own photo, however.)

TIP SHEET: Winterize Your Yard for Birds

Tips on How to Welcome Winter Birds For Reporters and Bird Lovers

NEW YORK (December 15, 2015) – With winter just days away, and the Christmas Bird Count finally here, there’s no better time to protect the birds you love. Birds have the same needs—food, water, shelter—in winter as they do any other time. Helping these winter visitors could help sustain their populations in both their wintering and summering grounds. The National Audubon Society has compiled the following guide on simple ways you can help.

Bird-friendly Yards and Communities

Where birds thrive, people prosper. One of the most important things we can do to help birds and other wildlife is to make our yards bird and wildlife-friendly.

  • Minimize the amount of manicured lawn in your yard. Reduce the amount of pesticides and fertilizers in your yard and plant native species. The wilder and more varied, the better it is for your avian neighbors.
  • Make a brush pile in the corner of the yard. Collect and set aside fallen branches and logs. This will provide shelter for birds from predators and storms, and a place to roost at night.
  • Rake leaves up under trees and shrubs and leave them there. The resulting mulch will make a lush environment for the insects and spiders that birds love to eat.
  • Create a songbird border of native trees and shrubs to create shelter from wind. Berry and fruit-producing shrubs and trees such as dogwoods, hollies, chokeberries, and elderberries and cherry trees are favored by many types of birds.  Plant native species whenever possible, and avoid invasives.
  • Clean out old nest boxes and feeders. It’s wise to remove old nests and seeds from shelters and feeders to prevent birds from getting sick.
  • Protect Your Windows. About a billion birds die from glass collisions each year. You can reduce this threat by making all your windows visible to birds. Glass appears clear or reflective to birds. Visual cues and markers as window decals on the outside of windows alert birds to the presence of glass.

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Christmas Bird Count time is here

CBC-logo-stacked

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season is upon us. The local one that I participate in — the Westport Circle — takes place on Sunday. Many of the counts take place this weekend, but the range to do the count started on Dec. 14 and runs through Jan. 5. Participants spend all day “in the field” counting birds (individual species and total number) and send the data to the circle’s compiler, who turns it all into the National Audubon Society.

The Christmas Bird Count is the world’s largest citizen science program with data going back to 1900. The data helps scientists track bird populations and is valuable in determining what steps, if any, need to be taken to help certain species.

The data, of course, is valuable and is indeed the most important part of the CBC. But it’s also a fun day to look for birds all day. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate — let me rephrase that, the weather hardly ever cooperates — but that only adds Continue reading

The latest For the Birds Column: Counting some lucky larks

Photo by Chris Bosak Peregrine Falcon at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Dec. 2013.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Peregrine Falcon at Veterans Park in Norwalk, Dec. 2013.

Click below to read the latest For the Birds column, which appears every Thursday in The Hour (Norwalk, CT) and Monday in The Keene Sentinel (Keene, NH). I talk about my experiences during the Dec. 15 Christmas Bird Count. Those are some lucky larks!

Click here for story.

Oh, and Merry Christmas, everybody.