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Bringing Mother Nature In Close

6:59 PM, Sep 1, 2013   |    comments
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THROUGHOUT WNY-Man's fascination with feeding birds dates back centuries.Some give credit to Saint Serf of Fife, a 6th century monk who first fed pigeons. Whatever the origin, this popular pasttime has grown to one that now involves huge flocks of enthusiasts.

Putting out feeders is an easy way to draw nature in close, and to learn much about one of the planet's oldest and most intelligent creatures. Jim Landau is an experienced birder and has been tending his feeders for years." You don't have to be going on wilderness vacations and white water rafting trips to see wildlife, you can see it from your kitchen table, right out the window."

Feeding birds can be as simple or as complex as you want. Feeders come in a many designs, from those that appeal to a wide variety of birds or others that attract a specific species,but in the end, the most important factor in attracting avian visitors is food. Danielle Pecoraro is co-owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Hamburg, NY. " Birds are by no means dependent on people, so if you don't put out what they like to eat, they're not going to come. Sunflower seed is a huge favorite for a lot of your birds, peanuts are a huge treat, sunflower chips, niger seed is a favorite for the Goldfinches, suet for the woodpeckers, peanuts."

Cost wise, feeding birds is pretty inexpensive to start and to maintain. But there are a couple of things one can add to make the experience even more rewarding, Says Landau." You can learn a whole lot just observing, and certainly a field guide enhances that experience a lot, a pair of binoculars certainly brings things in a little closer."

Bird Feeding isn't just a warm weather endeavor, either. Not all birds migrate, and although they're not solely dependent on them, Pecoraro tells 2 The Outdoors that winter feeders help them sustain themselves through the frigid months. " Studies have shown if there's really bad weather in the winter, if there's a blizzard, the feeders do help with survival during that time, because they don't have to waste the energy on finding food, so feeding them , they can
conserve more energy, and use that energy to stay warm."

Once you do get started, you'll be amazed at the number of different birds you can observe, and watching their daily activities will almost certainly lead to a better understanding of the natural world around us, says Landau." It is a constant learning thing, and it sure beats sitting on your couch watching reruns of the Mary Tyler Moore Show." Pecoraro agrees." Seeing a new bird at your feeder, or one that you never even new existed, or something that's real colorful, it just sparks a whole new, you know...it brings a whole new level to your life."

And during a time when reconnecting with our planet takes on ever more importance, such a simple thing as feeding birds takes wing, and ascends to heights never dreamed of by that solitary, 6th century monk who first started it all.
" People think they have a sense of entitlement over nature", Pecorao says "And that's not true, we need to cohabitate , everybody is on an equal playing field, the animals need to eat, and as long as they need to eat we might as well enjoy them."
Landau concurs." It expands your world ! It expands your world in surprising ways, and expanding your world enriches your life, and enriching your life, for a lot of people, and for me, is part of what it's all about."

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