The Joy of Bird Feeding

Birds are some of the most wonderful manifestations of nature; they are characterized by endless variety and diverse personalities. I’ve always loved spotting and watching birds, a pleasure that was rekindled upon joining the board of the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society this spring.  With some work, I have been rewarded with a perpetual show viewed from my living room and deck. Here are some tips for happy bird feeding:

Choosing a Feeder

There are many types and sizes of feeders, easily found online or in local stores. (One such store, located in Tilson, New York, near Rosendale, is the Tilson Birdwatchers Country Store.) Some feeders are more decorative than functional, and some are poorly made. I’ve found that functional feeders produced by a well-known company are best.  Keep in mind where the feeder will be placed: hung from a tree, on a pole, or on a hanger from a wall or fence. You’ll want a feeder that has good capacity, as hungry spring and summer birds can consume a lot of seed. Hang your feeder in an easy-to reach-place.

Choosing Seed

Good-quality birdseed produced for the Northeast region will attract a greater variety of birds. Watch out for seed that has become moldy.  A great source of seed is PHAS’s annual birdseed sale, coming up soon.

Downsides

Squirrels are hungry too, and they are extremely ingenious at getting onto bird feeders. There are a lot of tips online about how to prevent squirrels from raiding feeders, but it is often a futile effort. Some people just give in and throw seed on the ground for the squirrels. I have found that creating a barrier with chicken wire is pretty effective. Another downside is that birds can be messy, littering the ground with cracked seed shells or bits they don’t like. Some cleaning up is necessary but is worth the effort.

Rewards

Birds are an essential part of our natural ecosystem; they help everything else survive. They are also beautiful and entertaining to watch. This was our third summer here in the Hudson Valley and our first feeding the birds. I was amazed at how many more birds came to visit us and feed and grow.

FALL BIRDSEED SALE

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21

Enjoy the endless spectacle of overwintering birds of all shapes and sizes by putting up a bird feeder and watching them in the comfort of your own home. The beautiful autumnal display in the Hudson Valley is a signal for bird lovers to start cleaning out and putting up feeders. It is also time for PHAS’s Fall birdseed sale. We hope you will support this fundraiser, which also benefits our feathered friends.  We sell only high-quality clean birdseed without fillers.

An order form can be found on the PHAS website: www.putnamhighlandsaudubon.org.

Orders should be sent in by Monday, October 16, with pickup on Saturday, October 21, from 9 A.M. to noon, at the Taconic Outdoor Education Center. Audubon birders will be available to provide advice on feeder placement and birdseed choices.

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