birdfeeders

Our Friendly Feathered Friends

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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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Greenscaping Techniques Are For The Birds, Too!

As the migratory birds of North America start their yearly trek to warmer areas, birdwatchers may feast their eyes on new visitors passing through backyards and parks. While this yearly event may be often ignored by the average citizen, our daily actions have a definite impact on bird populations no matter where you live. Certain bird species are threatened by human activities, reduced habitats, pollution, and climate change, among other factors. Simple steps we take at home and in our community can protect the environment and go a long way to protect our avian visitors during their migration.

At home, my mother and I have always debated which is better for the birds: providing bird feeders with abundant birdseeds year-round or planting native plants in the backyard. I thought that by providing birdfeeders along migratory routes you were making birds stay longer in northern areas instead of migrating on time. Research on the subject indicated that seasonal changes rather than abundance of seeds were the determining factor for bird migration. There isn’t one easy answer to the birdfeeder debate. Definitely, if you decide to set up birdfeeders in your backyard, maintenance and placement of the feeder play a role in the protection of the birds. Furthermore, you should clean the feeders regularly to prevent mold from developing and harming the birds. Personally, I prefer greenscaping techniques like integrated pest management and planting native shrubs and trees that naturally invite birds and other wildlife to your backyard.

There is no doubt that pollution prevention and bird conservation initiatives [http://www.epa.gov/owow/birds/bird.html] overall will both have a positive impact on our feathered friends and our Planet Earth. So, how about pledging to take five simple steps in environmental protection? You can start today! [http://www.epa.gov/pick5/]

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. 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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.