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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Feed the birds: It's good for YOU!

In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence. 
~Robert Lynd 

Welcome to the farm, I'm so glad you are here!  Pull up a chair near my kitchen window and watch the birds with me.

This barred owl photo was taken by my daughter right from our kitchen window.  We spent the summer watching a mama feed her babies nearly every day and it was an unforgettable joy.  Feeding the birds was a new hobby for me when we moved to the farm.  I put my favorite chair right where I could watch the nearly constant activity going on right outside my window.  Bird watching is incredibly relaxing.  

How can having bird feeders be good for you? 
  • First of all, connecting with the natural world has a positive impact on your mood and reduces stress. 
  • The act of caring for animals is also another stress reducer.  
  • Going outside to fill the bird feeders gets you out in the fresh air and sunshine and will boost your energy and mood, bring vital Vitamin D to your body and lower your blood pressure and stress hormones. 
  • A natural tendency of bird watching is to learn which different birds come to your bird feeder.  Learning new things keeps your brain healthy.
  • Listening to birds sing relaxes you physically but stimulates your brain and increases alertness.  It keeps you mentally sharp. 
In general, feeding the birds will be a supplement to their regular diet and they will seek out insects and other naturally available foods in the area so don't plan on fulfilling all of their dietary needs. Hummingbirds and goldfinches have higher caloric needs though so if you wish to feed them, plan on keeping those feeders full as much as possible.  

You will have greater success in a variety of birds visiting the feeders if you place the feeders so that birds have some measure of safety from predators.  Feeders placed about twelve feet from brush piles, evergreen trees or bushes will provide adequate protection.  Also, if there is a window nearby, place a decal on it to prevent birds from mistaking the reflection for a clear flight path.  Collisions with windows causes many bird deaths.   

Different birds enjoy different types of foods.  

Some foods to consider offering are:

Black-Oil Sunflower Seeds, White Proso Millet, Peanuts, Suet Cakes, Nyjer Seed, Cracked Corn, Fruit, Crushed Egg Shells, Peanut Butter 

Here is the recipe for the homemade suet cake that I feed the birds and sometimes the chickens. 

Suet Cake

2 cups crunchy peanut butter
2 cups lard 
1 cup black oil sunflower seeds 
1 cup cracked corn 
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried and crushed egg shells

Melt together peanut butter and lard.  Mix in all other ingredients.  Pack into a large pan and refrigerate until hardened.  Cut into blocks and place in suet feeders.  

I hope you get to spend some time this week watching the birds and listening to their beautiful music.  Your stress will melt away :) 

Tomorrow we are back to thinking about the garden and I'll discuss some controversy that has come up with sharing seeds and seed libraries.  I hope to see you then!  

Peace be with you, 

Star Schipp

This post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using one of those links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.  It is a great way to support your favorite hobby farm blogger.  Thank you!   

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of the pine cone bird feeders we made when I was in Girl Scouts so many years ago.
    Family tradition- my girls put out a suet cake on Christmas Eve.