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Nebline Newsletter Article

Bird Feeding Activities
This article was submitted by Soni Cochran, Extension Associate, University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County. The article appeared in the Nebline Newsletter. Dates: December 1996 and updated January 1998.


Feeding birds is more than just watching the birds eat. You can learn a lot about wildlife as you watch your feeders.

*Get a field guide and identify the birds. 

*Take a picture, sketch or paint the birds at your feeder. 

*Keep a list of all the wildlife species that visit your feeder. 

*Keep "phenology" records of winter birds. 

    1) First dates when species arrive in fall. 

    2) Highest count for each species each week during winter. 

    3) Record when birds are last seen in spring. 

*Watch how birdfeeding patterns change during the day. Some birds eat early, some at mid-day and some all day long. 

*Keep notes on bird behavior. How do birds relate to others of their own species and with other species? Which are timid, which are aggressive? 

*Watch to see what foods are preferred by different birds. (Sand or grit is necessary in the gizzards of birds to help grind up the seeds they eat. Fine poultry grit can be mixed into the food or placed nearby if you feel a natural source is lacking.)

More Wildlife ResourcesReturn for more information on birds and wildlife

Looking for information about a specific insect pest or your local wildlife? Visit here.


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