Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Give Backyard Birds a Hand

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Give Backyard Birds a Hand

Article excerpt

Not all birds migrate. Some stick around all winter, when food is scarce. So if you want a real first-hand encounter with nature, try hand-feeding birds in your backyard.

Hugh Wiberg, author of "Hand-feeding Backyard Birds" (Storey Publishing, 1999) hand-fed his first bird 30 years ago. Here are a few tips from his book:

The best time to feed birds is October through March. In late spring and summer there are just too many bugs and worms around for birds to be bothered with humans. But when the weather is cold, birds are happy to get food wherever they can.

First, get a good supply of bird food. (Wiberg recommends nuts and sunflower seeds.) Hang a bird feeder in your yard. This will bring a steady supply of birds into your yard for a free meal. Next:

1. Dress warmly. You will be standing still a long time outdoors.

2. Pick a spot near the feeder and stand there. Don't move. Stay for a half hour or so. "Be prepared to be patient," Wiberg says. "Think of hand-feeding birds as a process, not as an event. …

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