Winter is waning! But before we celebrate too much there are tasks that must be done.
It is time to have a good look at your seed supply:
-> Do you buy bird seed in large bags?
-> Have you been using the same bag for a while, or, all winter?
-> Is your seed still healthy bird food?
It is very important to keep an eye on your bird food supply for spoilage:
-> Is it too moist?
-> Does it have mold? This often shows up as white spots. Or,
-> Is it sticking together?
Throw out anything that is not fresh. Better still, going forward, keep receipts and return any seed that has gone bad to the retailer. This will help suppliers to be vigilant about their seed.
It’s not “just” for the birds, it is for our “cherished” birds!
It is incumbent upon us to look after our wild birds as best we can.
Seed must be in good condition.
This is a good time of year to check carefully as the seed you are using now was grown last summer!
(But, if your seed is being wasted on the ground, learn how to clean it up here.)
#2 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide March
There is still time to put up new bird houses for returning birds, or for the birds who have stayed all winter, to choose as their nursery.
If you already have bird houses up in your outdoor space, hopefully they were cleaned out last fall, when birds could have used it for a place to roost for the night.
Check inside them now, to ensure all is spic and span for new residents. Wild birds like to start with a clean house
#3 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide March
Help your cavity nesting birds who are looking for a home, by placing clean, dry, bedding material like dried grasses, right in your bird house.
Or hang nesting material outside in a clean suet cage or another suitable container.
Never use cloth that holds water like cotton or linen.
This is a time where synthetic materials are best in small strands or use synthetic knitting yarn. Polyester or nylon do not hold water and will dry out quickly.
Any type of material that absorbs and holds water will make the baby birds damp and cause them harm.
#4 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide March
Nest boxes, or bird houses can be overcome with mites and fleas!
Sometimes the infestation becomes so bad that it will cause the young chicks so much stress that it can weaken them to the point of death.
But, there are substances that can be scattered in the bottom of a well cleaned out bird house to prevent this from happening.
Small amounts of organic matter like crushed seashells, borax, or diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled sparingly in the bottom of your bird house.
All three of these substances are sharp, so they cut the bodies of mites and fleas when they try to climb through it or fall on it, causing death through dehydration.
The particles are too small to harm chicks, but if you use too much and it becomes stirred up it could cause respiratory problems.
The nest built by the parent birds acts as a barrier between the baby birds and the small amount of material used to kill off the pests.
This is a way to help baby birds be healthy, more comfortable, and have a better chance of survival.
#5 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide March
One good reason to consider bird friendly plants this spring:
If you do a lot of traveling or even just a few regular weeks of summer vacation each year or if you are a snowbird, consider planting food bearing vegetation for birds while you are away.
Seeds, fruits, nuts, hidden insects in tree bark and in the dead plant material around your yard, are all number one food sources for wild birds. So another reason not to be too tidy with leaf litter etc. during yard cleanup time. ;-)
#6 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide March
Another reason to think about what you plant this spring is bird housing spots!
We have talked a lot about bird boxes and bird houses, but what about the songbirds you want to see, who build nests on branches and not in a cavity.
What could you plant for them?
What types of bushes or trees are favorites for various birds to build nests in?
You could attract those birds closer too, by learning what plant species they prefer to build their nests in. This is a longer-term plan than most plants and flowers for a bird garden, but very worthwhile on many levels.
We had a Goldfinch pair build a beautiful nest and raise a brood of four successfully in our hydrangea bush, just in front of our bedroom window. It was glorious to watch!
#7 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide March
Have you started your Attracting & Feeding Backyard Birds Plan we talked about last September?
If you haven’t, there is no time like the present, because spring is a perfect time to jot down in your plan the dates various birds arrive in your yard.
Adding a note about the type of weather and temperature are also interesting details to read about in the future.
This helps you immeasurably to know when to expect certain types of birds so you can be ready for them in years to come.
So that's it for March, your 7 Must Do's!
But wait, one of the most important Must Do's was left out!
Do you know what that is?
You likely guessed it right if you have been receiving these monthly Must Do's for a few months, CLEAN YOUR BIRD FEEDERS, BIRD BATHS, HOOKS AND ANYTHING ELSE BACKYARD BIRDS SIT ON REGULARLY!
Not meaning to shout, but this is a very important monthly task and a minimum, as the temperatures heat up outside it must be done far more often with bird baths and Hummingbird feeders sometimes daily.
Enjoy your backyard birds by learning more about how to care for them and attract more!