#1 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide May
Migration is in full swing this month. Many species of wild birds will be traveling through, or near your community. You may have visitors stop by for a drink, or a meal, to replenish their energy and then move on. They may be birds that do not normally visit seed feeders, as they may be mainly bug eaters or reptile diners.
But, you may be surprised to see one of them nibbling your seed anyway, because one eats, when one can, because sometimes their regular food is not available.
More likely they will be attracted to your water feature. Many people have entertained wading birds at their bird baths or small ponds. The longer you have lived in your present location, the greater your chances will be of hosting an unusual bird.
Here is one birders experience: Sandhill Crane At The Backyard Buffet.
#2 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide May
Spring is a good season to put your best foot forward by providing the freshest, most varied and full, backyard bird buffet that you can.
Because so many birds are on the move, it can attract more birds than you have had before, and who may decide to stick around for the summer.
You also have the opportunity to be discovered by new species that you have not had visit before, and decide to make your feeding station a regular diner on their daily summer itinerary.
Use this season to advertise your bird lover’s habitat.
#3 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide May
Bird baths are so important all year. And, spring is no exception. They make drawing birds into your outdoor space easier as their need for water is great.
Maintaining a water feature properly though is vital. Fresh, clean, water that is safe to drink, not too deep, with cover close by to evade hunters when necessary, must be provided. Like other duties of good bird watchers, if you cannot do it safely for the birds, then, best not to do it at all.
To help make tasks easier use wet wipes in-between cleaning to wipe the edge of the bird baths and add 1-4 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (ACV) to use as a natural enzyme to keep the water healthier longer or purchase a natural enzyme cleaner.
More about why bird baths are essential.
#4 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide May
Some avian friends use mud to build their nests and some birds use mud as a form of glue to hold nesting materials together. They will also continually need a bit of mud for repairs to the nest as the summer progresses.
You can help birds especially during dry seasons by supplying mud puddles.
- Choose an already damp area of your outdoor space and add a little water from time to time. Mix it up with a rake or spade, keeping it shallow.
- Create a small mud patch around the edge of your yard somewhere or in a bare spot in your yard where it is already difficult to grow grass or plants.
- Make a mud puddle in a plant pot tray or garbage can lid or just a saucer.
- Use only small amounts of water to prevent the mud patch from becoming too "soupy" or too big.
- Use "clean" dirt to make the mud.
- Best to use dirt that is close by so as not to introduce other organisms to your area.
- Don't worry about grass, twigs or stones in the mud puddle they can stay.
- Providing a couple of stepping stones will help birds get to the mud without standing in it. There is a small risk of it sticking to their feet. A regular water bath for rinsing, will be helpful.
- Do not add too much water or make the muddy area too big. Birds don't need a wheelbarrow full of mud. They only need what they can carry in their small mouths in multiple trips, but that is still not a lot. Unless you have a whole colony of Swallows near by, who will use large amounts of mud, then you can add water to make more mud as needed.
- Do not add anything to the mud puddle. No chemicals, no disinfectants, nothing to improve the smell, or to condition the mud in any way. Nothing!
- Do not use dirt that has had weed killer or fertilizers put on it.
Making an area for a "mud puddle" will be a big help for your neighbourhood birds and help you to get a better glimpse at birds that do not normally visit your yard.
#5 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide May
Have you given your spring and summer menu more thought? It is not too late to make changes or additions.
- What types of birds you want to attract? Were there birds who stopped by your place last spring, but because you did not have their favorite food, they did not stay all summer?
- What food do the birds you want to see, eat?
- What kind of feeders will you need for those types of birds and their menu?
- Where will you place everything in your yard? Do you have a plan?
Factors To Consider For Feeder Location?
- Will the more timid birds have a chance to feed?
- Will you be able to easily see your birds?
- Will it be easy to refill and clean the feeders when necessary?
- Will Squirrels be a problem? How will you win with them?
After you have a regular following of backyard birds at your feeders and bath, you can still make changes. Just move things in small steps. Don't go out one day and shuffle everything around at once. Move things one at a time, and only 4 or 5 feet at a time, until they are in the best place.
#6 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide May
Plant wildflowers and native plants that grow in your area because:
- Wildflowers produce more nectar for Hummers.
- Wildflowers attract bugs which birds eat.
- Wildflowers will not need to be replanted each year. They will come up next year to grace your yard, as most are perennials.
- They need less water and fertilizer.
- They stand up against weeds requiring less chemicals to get rid of the weeds.
What are the benefits of wildflowers?
- More money in your pocket!
- Less labor expended on your part maintaining them.
- AND, according to The National Wildlife Federation, when the amount of green space is looked at in the United States, personal yards make up 50% of the green space. Historically parks have been the focus which only accounts for 17% in comparison. So, if people are planting wildflowers and native plants then we will have a greener, healthier planet! So many bonuses!
#7 Must Do For Bird Watching Guide May
Sanitize your backyard bird feeding equipment far more frequently, now that the heat of summer, is starting to develop in North America!
All seed feeders, nectar feeders, bird baths, poles, hooks and anywhere birds regularly sit should be "sanitized". Always keep fresh seed on hand, throw out anything that is not fresh. Everything spoils faster and disease grows quickly in the heat.
Keep up the good work for our birds sake!