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Our Friendly Feathered Friends

2013 February 28

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By Lina Younes

Ever since the beginning of the year, I have been noticing more the comings and goings of wild birds around my home.  For the past weeks, I’ve been hearing an increasing number of bird calls as well. While I didn’t quite recognize the distinct chirps or calls of the different birds, I can tell that they are coming from a wide variety of bird species.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, there is a pair of cardinals that is frequently visiting my backyard. I’ve seen blue jays and other birds in the wooded area behind my house, but they don’t seem to come to my garden while I have been around. I discussed the situation with my children and they suggested that I put bird feeders. “You can even put peanut butter on an acorn. That’s what we did at school,” proclaimed the youngest.

Frankly, I had been resisting the idea of bird-feeders for the longest time. I thought that by creating a bird-friendly environment in my backyard birds would visit regularly. I’ve prided myself with planting flowering plants, shrubs and trees that will provide birds and other pollinators with habitat, food and rest areas. There’s even a little creek nearby to provide water. I was opting for a natural approach. Personally, I didn’t want to get bird feeders because I didn’t want to feed the area squirrels nor did I want to attract unwanted rodents.

To feed or not to feed, that was the question! So, in the spirit of National Bird-Feeding Month, I finally decided to get a couple of bird feeders and birdseed for wild birds. I will be placing them strategically in my garden this weekend. I stress the word “strategically” because I don’t want to put them in location that will give easy access to those pesky squirrels. Nonetheless, I want to have them in a location where my family and I may feast our eyes with the site of the colorful avian visitors that will be flying by.

I hope to take some nice pictures of some blue jays, orioles and in the summer, some golden finches. I am looking forward to sharing the experience in future blogs. Stay tuned.

Do you have any bird-watching suggestions? Would love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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10 Responses leave one →
  1. Master Melvin M. Lusterio permalink
    March 1, 2013

    The Good Force be with you!

    Excellent, Lina! Yes, birds are our good friend! It is nice to see them flying & resting on trees. Bird watching is fun. It is good for our heart.

    Live forever & prosper!

  2. Heather permalink
    March 1, 2013

    Make sure you buy a hummingbird feeder too! There’s nothing like seeing a hummingbird-up close flapping it’s wings. As I’m sure you know, the solution is just sugar water so it’s super easy. You even hang the feeder on an awning near a window.

  3. Pete permalink
    March 1, 2013

    I wish you luck with deterring the squirrels. My mom went as far as hanging her bird feeder from a thin rope so that the squirrels could not get to it, but one still managed to jump on the feeder. She has gone to a feeder that has mesh around the bird feed where the birds still can get to it, but the squirrels can not. I have hummingbird feeders myself and they are great and go along well with neighboring flowers. Just remember when placing them, that the ants love sugar too. Happy feeding!

  4. Lina-EPA permalink
    March 2, 2013

    Heather, yes, I have one. Looking forward to seeing the hummingbirds and goldfinches in the summer.
    Thanks for your comments

  5. MelanieCE permalink
    March 4, 2013

    My kids and I make feeders out of pine cones, peanut butter and bird seed every winter. The pine cones are retrieved from our yard and baked in a low heat oven so they open fully. We then smother them in peanut butter and coat in bird seed. Both of my girls and all of the kids from our church love this actiity and we have the happiest birds in the neighborhood!

  6. Shankar Banjara permalink
    March 4, 2013

    Wow birds are our good friend! It is nice to see them flying & resting on trees. Bird watching is fun.

  7. Piter Cina permalink
    March 5, 2013

    The good news is that we can all do something to help our feathered friends:

    Set up a bird monitoring program
    Create or improve a bird habitat
    Keep your cat inside–bells and de-clawing are largely ineffective
    Reduce and avoid pesticide use in your yard
    Drink bird-friendly, shade-grown coffee
    Use “green” paper products to conserve forest habitat


  8. Lina permalink*
    March 5, 2013

    Thanks for your comments.

    I’ll keep you updated.

    Thanks for all the tips.


  9. Rick permalink
    March 7, 2013

    I love to feed the birds in my yard. Thistle bags are great for small birds, just be sure not to let them get wet. Actually that goes for all bird seed, but a hanging bag is so much more vulnerable than a covered seed feeder.

    A nice pair of low-power binoculars is really enjoyable. 6x, wide angle porro-prism is my favorite – wide bright field of view, which makes shaking hands less of a problem, and they can focus on birds as close as 15 feet or so away. Great for kids and those who wear glasses.

    Beware of cats. They take a terrible toll. I actually don’t feed the birds during nesting season (sadly) because neighborhood cats invariably kill the fledglings, and it’s so sad to find them.

    At the very least, don’t feed where cats can hide close to feeding birds.

    For hummingbirds, plant some trumpet vine. It’s cheap, fun , pretty and grows like a weed. Feeders with sugar water solutions can be bad for hummers.

    Enjoy your hobby!

  10. Lina-EPA permalink
    March 9, 2013

    Thanks for the nice tips, Rick

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