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February Is National Bird Feeding Month
February 01, 2016

February 1st, the beginning of a new month.

Can spring be so close, yet so far?

Welcome all.

New readers as well as established friends.

Great news........

Yolanda has been dry in the morning now for over a month now.

Praise, and thanks given to our God.

New readers, Yolanda is our special needs (adult) daughter, brain injured in a car accident years ago.

Over time you will learn more about us.

I am sparing you all this week, as there is no picture of Snicker Doodles.

Only Akita and Ziggy taking a nap on the couch away from Snickers.

Are you sign up for this year's Great Backyard Bird Count?

It is taking place this year from February 12 thru February 15.

Get signed up on their website.

It doesn't take long.

It doesn't hurt at all.

You will more than likely enjoy yourself.

Not to mention, you become an amateur scientist as you help figure out the strength and weaknesses of our bird populations.

A new month begins.

This means it is time to clean your feeders if possible.

Feeders are more active in the winter months, and this can lead to sick and dead birds.

Salmonella, Conguctivitis, and other deadly sickness are spread.

Sometimes to the point where State and Federal Wildlife Commission's will impose a feeding ban for six weeks or so.

Living in Michigan, I understand that cold and snow makes this task a bit more challenging, however you can do it.

Here is an easy yet effective way for a quick sterilization of your feeders.

An inexpensive bottle of rubbing alcohol poured into a spray bottle.

Bundle up, with spray bottle in hand, trudge out to your feeders.

Now spray your feeders with the rubbing alcohol.

No worries, alcohol wont freeze up, in will actually dry and evaporate rather quickly.

Leaving your feeders clean and safe.

You can do this at anytime.

As winter wears on, bird food in the wild grows thin, and birds have to work harder to survive.

This is where you and I can help.

February is 'National Bird Feeding Month'.


“Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize February, one of the most difficult months in the United States for wild birds, as National Bird-Feeding Month. During this month, individuals are encouraged to provide food, water, and shelter to help wild birds survive. This assistance benefits the environment by supplementing wild bird's natural diet of weed seeds and insects. Currently, one third of the U.S. adult population feeds wild birds in their backyards.

On February 23, 1994, John Porter (R-IL) proclaimed February as National Bird-Feeding Month when he read a resolution into the Congressional Record.

Above is the formal resolution that he read.

Read on.....

In addition, Mr. Speaker, backyard bird feeding is an entertaining, educational, and inexpensive pastime enjoyed by children and adults. Bird feeding provides a needed break from today's frantic lifestyles. Adults enjoy the relaxation and peacefulness afforded by watching birds -- nature serves to relieve the stress and can get one's day going on a tranquil note.

Young children are naturally drawn to the activities involved in feeding wild birds, which can serve as excellent educational tools. Children can identify different species of birds with a field guide and can learn about the birds' feeding and living habits. These observations can then provide excellent research opportunities for school projects and reports.

Feeding wild birds in the backyard is an easy hobby to start and need not overtax the family budget. It can be as simple as mounting a single feeder outside a window and filling it with bird seed mix. For many people, the hobby progresses from there. They discover the relationship between the type and location of feeders, and the seeds offered in them, and the number and varieties of birds attracted. Parents can challenge an inquisitive child's mind as they explore together these factors in trying to encourage visits by their favorite birds.”

Amazing, something of importance actually coming from Washington.

Four plus (almost five), decades ago, when I started feeding birds it was more of a novelty.

Most of the birds that fed in North America's backyards ate weed seeds and insects gleaned from crevices in tree bark and dead plants.

Now they have other feeding options.

Nearly one-third of the adult population of North America dispenses about a billion pounds of birdseed each year as well as tons of suet and gourmet seed cakes and more.

What changes does this have on the wild bird population?

Several years ago, The University of Wisconsin compared winter flocks of black-capped chickadees in two similar woodlands in Wisconsin-one left natural and one equipped with feeders stocked with sunflower seeds.

After three years of study, they found that winter survival rates were highest in the woods with the feeders -but only during winters with prolonged periods of extreme cold.

This suggests that in milder climates, feeders may have little effect on the winter survival of chickadees.

The study also found that nesting populations in both woods were similar the following spring.

To test the ability of chickadees to switch back to natural food, they removed the feeders from a woodland where birds had been fed for the previous 25 years and compared survival rates with those of chickadees in a nearby woodland where there had been no feeders.

They documented that chickadees familiar with feeders were able to switch back immediately to foraging for natural foods and survived the winter as well as chickadees that lived where no feeders had been placed.

This was not a big surprise, since food from feeders had made up only 21 percent of the chickadees daily energy requirement in the previous two years.

On average, research shows wild birds may get about 25 percent of their winter food from your feeders.

On bitter cold days, days that have fewer hours of daylight to forge and find food, your feeders can make a difference.

Clearly, much more work needs to be conducted with many feeder-frequenting species throughout their ranges.

These studies do however, suggest that winter feeding does not promote dependency.

You may notice fewer birds on a mild winter day, and a feeding frenzy before and during a storm.

If you are new to feeding birds, I will tell you this.

Birds are ultra sensitive to barometric pressure.

When the pressure begins to drop before and during a storm front, birds know and begin to gorge.

Isn't Nature Grand.

Feeding Birds is certainly not as helpful as improving backyard habitat through landscaping, which provides food for a wider variety of birds, as well as shelter, nesting places, and perches.

Start planning to provide more shrubs, flowers and a tree or two if you have the space.

Allowing flower seeds to remain offers food for your birds.

Shrubs like 'Winterberry' (Ilex verticillata), and 'Highbush Cranberry' (Viburnum Ilex verticillata), 'Oregon Grapeholly' (Mahonia aquifolium), and other regional shrubs and trees that will offer fruits for mush of the winter months.

Trees offer seeds and nuts, plus hiding places for dormant insects and their larvae and eggs.

Conifers provide cones that birds will glean the pine nuts and seeds, as well as protection from the winds and cold of winter.

But one thing is certain however, feeding helps close the distance between wild birds and people.

Anyone who has conducted a 'Christmas Bird Count' in northern latitudes, or participates in the 'Great Backyard Bird Count will testify that most wintering land birds are often found around bird feeders.

Again, that's not surprising, since feeders reduce the time it takes to find food, and the average meal size (juicy sunflower kernels and suet) is certainly larger than tiny weed seeds or wintering insects dug out of tree bark.

Feeders may also reduce the risk of predation, since feeder birds spend less time foraging and have more time to watch for predators.

Place your feeders where you can enjoy them, yet close to protection for your avian friends.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life".

Leo Buscaglia

I so enjoy reading his material and his quotes.

Mr. Buscaglia was a great teacher and motivator, with love as his main topic.

What does the bible say?

That's easy.

"Whoever does not love does not know God,
Because God is love."

I John, 4:8

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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