Extension helps communities celebrate National Bird Feeding Month

Published 1:27 pm Thursday, February 23, 2023

February is National Bird Feeding Month and the Lowndes County Extension Office provides information to help residents learn about and enjoy bird-related activities at all ages and stages of life.

Urban Regional Extension Agent Roosevelt Robinson said February is a popular time for the year for bird lovers.

“Birdwatching and feeding during the depths of winter provide some of the most beautiful birding available,” Robinson said. “The sheer diversity of birds in winter climates garners much attention. Birdwatching and feeding continue to serve as a significant contributor to America’s close relationship with nature. Unfortunately, wild birds have it tough in winter as their favored natural resources aren’t as plentiful compared to other times of the year.”

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Extension programs help educate children about birds and how to provide food and nesting areas for their wild, feathered friends.

“In 2022, the kids at Jackson-Steele Elementary established a native songbird population coverage area,” Roosevelt said. “We purchased nest boxes from the Alabama Institute of the Deaf and Blind in Talladega County and had them shipped here. The kids assembled the boxes and strategically placed them around campus and in various micro habitats to attract certain species of birds.”

Roosevelt said that monitoring the boxes every few days and checking for nests and cleaning out the houses helped the youngsters learn about the seasonal journeys of birds while providing much needed nesting sites for bird species experiencing population decline.

According to Lowndes Extension Office Coordinator Tana Shealey, Extension also hosts community workshops for senior citizens, teaching about topics like bird watching to engage seniors and help get them outside and moving.

“The Lifelong Learning Institute is part of Extension,” Shealey said. “It’s one of the arms of Extension and it has activities and workshops for senior citizens. Among those is backyard bird watching, which gets people outside and moving more.”

In addition to generating increased activity, Shealey said workshops on topics like bird watching can be enjoyed all year long.

“You can watch birds all year round,” Shealey said. “Some of them do fly out, but some of them stick around. You’ll see a cardinal here or there and when they come back with warmer weather, you’ll be prepared and know what to do.”

Outdoor activities help to improve overall health for community members, Roosevelt explained.

“We want to get seniors involved because being involved with some sort of outdoor activity, like hearing birds singing and watching birds and their antics helps lower the rates of depression,” Roosevelt said. “It reduces stress and anxiety, giving seniors something to do that’s different.”

Roosevelt said National Bird Feeding Month was established in 1994 by Illinois Congressman John Porter to educate the public on the seasonal journeys of birds and to help citizens supplement wild birds’ natural diet of insects and weed seeds during one of the coldest winter months.

Filling backyard bird feeders is one way to celebrate, Roosevelt said.

“Adding feeders to your landscape can attract new birds,” Roosevelt said. “It’s important to note that birds may prefer some feeders over others depending on the food type.”

Other ways to celebrate include joining a birding club, learning about a new species, sharing photos and discoveries, starting a bird journal, and teaching someone to identify birds.

Extension offers online classes focused on backyard birdwatching. For more information visit aces.edu or call (334) 548-2315.