Feeding The Birds

Did you know that you live along one of North America’s main bird migration flyways? More than 500 bird species use the bird superhighway that runs right through your backyard! The bad news is, an ever-growing human population continually presents challenges for feathered travelers. The good news is you don’t have to be an expert birder or scientist to support these birds. You can help by simply feeding them!

Even the strongest birds need safe places to rest and refuel along the way in order to successfully complete their semi-annual journeys. Birds that stick around may also struggle to find enough food to make it through one of our infamously long winters. Especially one like we’ve been having. Welcome birds to your backyard and community with Audubon’s mixed wild bird feeds and specialty seeds. Audubon’s specially blended bird seed was created by a team of local birders to attract many different birds-those that migrate and those that don’t. Our tried-and-true mixes are heavy on the black oil sunflower seeds that birds love, and also include canary seed, millet, corn, safflower seed, and sunflower hearts. The exclusive Conewango Blend is available along with other specialty products at special prices during Jamestown Audubon’s Bird Seed Sale.

Here at Audubon, our seed proves its value by supporting a large number of birds all year-round. At this time of year, it is not uncommon to view the acrobatic Downy Woodpecker, raucous Blue Jay, monochromatic junco, charming chickadee, or even the crooning Mourning Dove vying for a spot at our feeders. The brilliant red cardinal and his mate join the Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-breasted Nuthatch, goldfinch, and Tufted Titmouse in rounding out the most common winter sightings in the center’s backyard.

Of course, a few wily characters show up once in a while as well. The Red Squirrel and Eastern Chipmunk are surprisingly brave when it comes to stealing the birds’ food. Even if they aren’t caught in the act, their footprints remain to tell the tale. It’s no wonder that a common past-time of many visitors here at the center is simply watching this conglomeration of creatures set against a backdrop of snow.

As a new birder, I can tell you from experience that winter is a great time to get started. The diversity is less overwhelming and identification more straight-forward. I’ve discovered that even the most common sightings are often the most thrilling. All of the different colors, songs, shapes and sizes are fascinating but behaviors can be captivating as well. Even the chickadee, a long-time personal favorite, can woo the patient observer with his feeder etiquette. A pair of good binoculars and a simple field guide will get you started; and, if you’re tech-savvy, apps like Sibley’s eGuide to Birds or iBird Pro can be excellent references if you have a smartphone. And the best part? Even when the weather outside isn’t particularly inviting for a stroll in search of the winged, you can bring the birds to you.

Order your bird seed today. You can order and pay entirely online or fill out a form and mail it to Audubon. Order forms are available on our website jamestownaudubon.org or at the front desk of the center. Orders will be accepted through Jan. 28, 2014. Questions and phone orders can be taken care of by calling 569-2345.

Audubon is located in Chautauqua County – New York’s western-most county – a stone’s throw from the Pennsylvania border. While the mailing address is 1600 Riverside Road, Jamestown, NY, the site is actually located in the town of Kiantone, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren, Pa. Call the center with any questions: 569-2345.

Crin Fredrickson is a seasonal naturalist at Audubon. She is studying Environmental Science at Green Mountain College and loves the outdoors.