Bird Feeding

Bird Feeding

Fall and winter are great times to observe birds by feeding them. Why not make a bird feeder and keep it stocked with food? It's fun and can be good science. First, look at some different designs to see what materials you have that can be used to make a feeder. Feeders can be made from lots of things like cardboard milk cartons, 2 liter plastic bottleshardware, cloth and wood, cans, or jars. Place your feeder outside where you can see it from a window. Put some food in it. Sunflower seed, white millet, suet, and peanut butter are some of the best foods to start with. Ask an adult to help you clean it every couple of weeks. Wash it with soapy water and rinse it with 1 part bleach and 9 parts water. This will help keep birds from getting sick.

How long does it take before birds start coming to your feeder? While you are waiting for birds to start visiting your feeder, visit a bird feeding station by webcam to start practicing bird identification.

What kinds of birds come first? Use a field guide or Web site to identify the birds that come.

Look closely at the birds at your feeders. What do the beaks of birds that eat seeds look like? What do the beaks of birds that eat suet look like?

Do more birds seem to come to your feeder just before a storm?

What kind of birds show up first in the morning? What kinds of birds seem to be the last to visit the feeder in the late afternoon?

Do some kinds of birds chase most other kinds away? If yes, what kinds of birds do this? Are they bigger than the birds they chase?

After a while, you may want to put up some other feeders which let you put out other kinds of bird food. This may atttract some new kinds of birds.

Visit the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (Cornell bird lab) site for answers to a few of the most common questions about feeding birds. You might want to join their Project FeederWatch and collect data to help research on feeding birds.
View text-based website