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- Patty Waits and Bill Beasley


Birding Blog

Preparing Backyard for an Enjoyable Bird Watching

Bird watching is an interesting activity that offers great pleasure. The colours, sounds and playful activities of birds can fill anyone’s heart with interest and joy.

If you and your family are interested in bird watching, you will have to create an environment that’ll attract birds. Here are some expert tips for enthusiastic birders.

  1. Birds love to play in the water. They also need water to quench their thirst. So the first requirement is to make arrangement for fresh water. Create fountains and pools surrounded by green foliage like hand bowls and containers from trees. This will attract birds to your backyard.
  2. Erect ventilated birdhouses at safe spots. Ensure that these are at a safe distance from predators.
  3. Provide multiple types of grains, seeds and suet in feeders. Erect multiple feeders at different places. Sugar water in hanging containers attracts a number of birds.
  4. Offer them food. Supply your backyard with a variety of native plants that can offer berries, seeds, nectar and nuts to birds.
  5. Do not uproot dead trees. Birds often nest in hollows and nooks of such dead vegetation.
  6. Give them a place to stay. Create a brush pile in some corner for birds to hunt roost and nest.
  7. Plant a variety of flowers and shrubs. A colourful environment is congenial for their growth.
  8. Be careful while mowing your lawn and cleaning long grass. There may be birds nesting in somewhere, especially if you're sitting on a ride on mower.
  9. Avoid the use of insecticides in your backyard. Insects are an easily available food that provides the birds with fats and proteins.

All preparations mentioned above will attract the birds to your backyard. Now you need to make some arrangement for a relaxed and enjoyable bird watching.

You will need a nice place on patio or a window from where the feeding station and water pool can be easily viewed. You will also need a good set of binoculars to observe their activities whether close or far away.

The third essentiality is a field guide, a person or a journal with pictures, to help you know your avian guests.


The Right Seating Arrangement for Bird Watching

Bird watching is as educative as it is interesting. Birders do not just watch birds. They get curious, observe, take pictures and videos and even make informative notes. Doing so will take a lot of time and birders need to remain comfortable while enjoying their hobby.

The right type seating arrangement is necessary for a satisfactory experience and real fun.  Your seating arrangement should not be too close to the birds’ visiting spots and not too far. The chairs, sofas, recliners or tripods should be stable and strong. They should also be comfortable. Creaky or shaky chairs may disturb the birds and scare them away.

If you are watching birds from your patio or terrace, you can easily drag your home recliner or sofa and keep an eye on the bird bath, feeding stations and other spots. Sitting relaxed on sofas and recliners will keep your neck rested and you can remain in one position for a long time.

If you are on a field trip and watching birds in their natural places-- on hills and in forests, you will need to carry a light weight foldable chair with you. These chairs can be easily strapped to the body. The four legs can be made to stand on a levelled ground and they offer an easy recline and rest to the body while looking up and watching birds for long durations of time.

Some enthusiastic birders go deep in wooden terrains and hilly regions to watch some specific species of birds. They take the help of hides that allows them a closer view of birds with minimum disturbances. They usually take tripods or bipods that can be placed inside the hides and allow them some rest while they concentrate on birds and their activities. Some others have chairs specially designed for their specific requirement.


An Eventful Day for Bird Watchers

Next month is the annual bird watching party of the community. It is going to be a memorable day with friends and neighbours who enjoy an intimate sharing of birding experience along with a fun barbeque meal.

The day will begin early as it is the best time for watching birds from the terrace when they forage in the garden for insects and seeds. We can observe sparrows at the feeders near the windows. The songs of Blackbird, Robin, Song thrush, Greenfinch and Goldfinch will offer entertainment as we sip our morning tea and get ready for the day.

The afternoon and the evening will be spent in the backyard where a steaming barbecue will be accompanied by tiny twitters of avian visitors who are found in abundant numbers here. The song birds will again be visible at their feeders in the late afternoon.

The evening will be devoted to an intimate talk with friends where birding experiences will be exchanged and shared. There will be a video session where the group will be entertained with interesting videos of birds and their unique activities.

The night will be a tour in the nearby bird sanctuary to watch the bird’s activities after dark. The great horned owl can be found there. There are many water birds, flamingos, herons and ducks in the natural lakes and will be a prized observation. Night vision binoculars and cameras will enable the group to have a close look at the night time behaviours of birds.

The day is expected to be eventful and fun packed for all interested bird watchers.

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