November 15 - November 21
Discover nature this week by making something that will keep you discovering nature all winter long – a bird feeder.
According to a Missouri Department of Conservation survey, one and a half million Missourians enjoy bird feeding. Even on the dreariest winter day, watching the freedom and brilliant feathers of a bird in flight or their interactions as they enjoy a meal of sunflower seeds in your back yard can lift a foggy mood.
The most commonly recognized bird in Missouri is the Cardinal, which will be one of the first species to discover a new feeder. American Goldfinches, sometimes called wild canaries, are also common to see here in the winter, as well as the Purple Finch, which is misnamed as the males have more of a reddish crest than purple.
One of the most amusing aspects of bird feeding is to watch characteristics of various species. For example, the American Goldfinch is a small bird that is often the victim of bullying from other birds. They do well with a specific finch feeder with small perches just their size.
One of my favorite birds is the one often caught bullying smaller birds like finches. The Blue Jay is a member of the crow family, and it eats anything from seeds to table scraps. However, if you don’t enjoy the blue-jay’s noisiness, a freely swinging feeding station will allow smaller birds, like the goldfinches, to feed undisturbed.
Bird feeding stations may be as simple as seed placed on the ground or as complicated as a feeder made for a specific species. A plain wooden platform can serve as a simple feeding station, with edging around the outside to keep seed from falling to the ground.
Bird feeder blueprints, plans and ideas can be found online at MissouriConservation.org.