February is National Bird Feeding Month and it can be an entertaining and educational use of your backyard.
"It also gives us a chance to see birds and learn about them up close," said Dr. Shannon Farrell, an ornithologist. "That’s a big part of the positive effect of feeders for all of us in urban and even suburban environments to connect with the different bird species up close, watch their behavior and how they interact and maybe find a love for birds through that close contact.
New York enjoys quite a variety of birds through the winter months, including colorful cardinals and blue jays as well as Carolina wrens, woodpeckers and the clever nut hatchers.
"They’ll grab seeds from the feeder then they will bring it back to a tree where they’ll stash it in crevices in the bark for later."
The birds need a replacement for the insects they eat in the summer months.
"Accessing high-energy, high-protein, and high-fat food can be important. Nuts and seeds are common with sunflower seeds are one of the most popular."
Bird feeders come in all sizes and designs but location is the most important aspect.
"What you want to do is locate them where there is some open space so birds on the feeder can see their way around and keep an eye out for predators."
Even though bird watching is your goal, don’t put feeders too close to a window. That can lead to serious accidents.