Good time to bird around the home

Good time to bird around the home

April and May are good months to be outside working in the garden or in the flower beds. It’s even more so this year when most other options are not available. We can, however, watch and learn more about birds, as well as butterflies, flowers, trees, insects, amphibians and more. All of this can be done on our own or with our immediate family at or near where we live.

One of the first things to do these days is get out the hummingbird feeders. Make sure they are clean, then fill them with a mixture of four parts water to one sugar — no food coloring should be used. If you have more than one feeder, use them all. Having feeders in the front yard and the back yard makes it harder for a territorial bird to chase off other hummingbirds. These delightful birds can provide hours of enjoyment to all ages. In addition to hummingbirds, you may have some other birds that try their luck at the sweetness.

A second bird-feeding specialty is for orioles. Although you can use specially made orange-colored oriole feeders, it’s possible to create your own feeders, offering grape jelly and cut-up oranges. Both Baltimore and orchard orioles may visit your feeders, depending on where you live. You also can put out small pieces of string and yarn to be used as nesting material. A friend of ours in Berlin had at least a dozen old oriole nests that were made of myriad materials provided for the birds over the years.

Although there is more food available to birds this time of year, it’s still rewarding to keep using some suet feeders and hanging or platform feeders. It won’t be long before rose-breasted grosbeaks will enjoy seeds from your feeders.

Our 4-year-old granddaughter watches for the birds that show up every day. This includes woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, mourning doves, Carolina wrens, blue jays, bluebirds, cardinals, goldfinches, house finches and red-winged blackbirds. We even have a pair of mallards that come walking through the yard from time to time.

While juncos are still visiting our feeders, it won’t be long before they head further north for the summer. Chipping sparrows are arriving, and by the end of the month, they will be joined by house wrens and lots of migrant and nesting songbirds.

This also is a good time to listen for frogs and possibly owls. Butterflies and moths will begin showing up. One of the most respected ornithologists in the country, Van Remsen from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has recently started photographing and identifying moths. After a lifetime of studying birds, Van has enjoyed learning about moths — not a bad way to spend enforced time at home.

There’s much more you may already be doing or have plans to do outside. Please consider sending me your ideas and I’ll try to pass them along to other readers. In the meantime, please stay safe and enjoy life as it is for the moment.

Good birding!

Email Bruce Glick at

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