My friend Carol and I were having coffee the other morning, in her kitchen, discussing a few projects she wanted me to do for her. My wife and I rent a house from her and we barter a few dollars off the rent every month. Nothing big. Fix a doorknob here, paint some lawn furniture there. That kinda thing.
An Eastern Shore Experience
We were sitting at the breakfast table casually watching the backyard world go by. Suddenly Carol got excited while glancing out the large bay window next to the where we were sitting. She had noticed a slightly larger bird in a treetop, being harassed by a group of smaller birds. Just from the behavior and size, I could tell it was either an American Kestrel or a Merlin, both local falcons on the move, this time of year.
Since she is taking a bird watching class, she made a quick move to get her binoculars. Another bird for her newly started Life Bird List? She tried to identify it but the glare was a little much from her angle, to see feather coloring. After a quick glance thru the binoculars, I could tell it was definitely a Kestrel. That blocky head and bright rust color and black banded tail left no doubt in my mind.
Carol commented on my ability to identify a bird with just a glance or by its behavior.
“How could you tell so quickly what it was?!”
I guess I never really thought about. I grew up spending a lot more time in the woods than in the house, unlike most of the youth of today. Animal identification became second nature to me with identifying birds at the top of the list. I had a life list of nearly 100 birds before I was 10. It’s just what we did growing up in the 70’s.
That’s when Carol asked me a question that gave me a great idea. She asked, “Will you help me set up my bird feeders in my backyard?”
Yes! It is easy to create an environment with different kinds of feeders that attract a variety of birds. We started brainstorming ideas. Where will we arrange them to give her the best viewing from where we sitting, the place where she had her morning coffee?
My Top Tips For Backyard Bird Feeders
I explained to Carol that there are several different points of importance when it comes to how and where to place bird feeders in her backyard. Here’s the list we quickly compiled to get her started on her project before Spring.
- Many of the smaller birds like to stay hidden when they eat. They would rather forage for food while remaining under the low bushes and cover to protect themselves from Sharp-Shinned Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks.
- It is important to put out cracked corn in these areas. It provides plenty of protein as well as lots of carbs and fiber.And, most importantly, what doesn’t get eaten won’t start growing under your bushes in the spring.
- There are several species of birds in our area that are fond of thistle seeds so a thistle seed feeder would be a great idea to pull in the finches.
- A sunflower seed feeder is a must to keep the Cardinals and the grosbeaks happy.
- To keep the squirrels from raiding all of the above feeders of their expensive seed, I heavily suggest a corn cob spike to keep the grey bandits happy.
This is just the beginning! With a yard like Carol’s, (any many gorgeous properties on the Eastern Shore) the possibilities are endless! I went on to explain a few other points to be considered when we designed her feeding stations and she started to get more and more excited.
“There are certain plants we could plant that would flower and entice both butterflies and hummingbirds. Others could pull deer into a specific area for viewing.”
Then it hit me. I do this all the time! It’s another Eastern Shore Experience. And now it’s available to you. Create a backyard (or any outdoor space) to attract wildlife for your personal viewing!
Birds, butterflies, deer, rabbits, squirrels……..
Almost all the local inhabitants can be enticed into viewing range providing there is something that they desire in a specific area. It’s just a matter of a little insight and nature-know-how!
Giving you any ideas for your own backyard?
It may still be cold outside, but Spring is just around the corner. So why not bring nature a little closer and create an environment that the animals will love right near you? Whether it’s your backyard, you’re front yard, a patio or anywhere outdoors, imagine if you could enjoy it with a little more of the natural Eastern Shore habitat and wildlife all the time!
Let’s create a space that will be inviting to the animals that YOU want to see. Call or email me today and we’ll start thinking of the perfect elements that your yard needs to attract the local wildlife you want to see!
I gotta go. Somebody wants me to help’em see some critters up close.