The weather is getting colder and our daily activities are changing. This is the same for animals, and mostly for birds. Winter is coming day by day and this climate change is obviously affecting bird activities. You have the perfect chance now to join the winter birding festivals at Cornell Lab of Ornithology to watch the bird activities in winter!
Not everyone thinks that the most satisfying time of the year, to go out for a ride in nature with the purpose of watching birds are the freezing winter months. However, you can turn this disadvantage into a great opportunity to observe different bird species easier than in the summer season and other season-specific, temporary visitors, while absorbing intense oxygen.
Go backpacking with your binoculars, long-range super-telephoto zoom lensed camera, or video recorder to live this experiment at least once in your life and discover those cute new visitors and their species-specific behaviors!
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And here are 6 tips to ease things by planning them for you while watching birds in the wintertime and make it more enjoyable.
Prepare a top watchlist of specific winter bird species
Planning is important. Winter birding will be way more abundant if you make a good plan and make a major list of species to watch. Google it, or find a guidebook to detect every single bird species residing in your area or the ones which are seasonal visitors, and take detailed notes on how they look like and where they appear.
For more detailed and professional information you can visit eBird and/or similar resources to find out winter-specific species residing in your territory. The reason for this is, there might be some missing species in the field guide that temporarily turn up in your area for unusual reasons.
Basically, this study will take some time to conclude but you will be more capable of identifying different species, where and when to expect them, and if they are residents or temporary visitors…
Keep a decent distance and don’t disturb birds
During winter the most challenging thing for birds is to survive. Even though they have feathers to keep them maintain warmth and body temperature, they have a small bodies to resist cold weather. So, they will always try to conserve their energy and collect food as much as they can.
If your intention is to watch them, do this from a decent distance without disturbing them and causing them to waste extra energy. Stressing them out, in addition to cold winter days, will make their life tougher.
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Prepare bird feeders
Finding food might be tedious for birds sometimes, especially in winters. Providing a mixture of sunflower seed, peanuts, thistle seed, or similar high-fat foods for birds in your backyard or around your area might help you gain some constant visitors to watch during wintertime.
As the weather will be windy, rainy, or snowy during wintertime, providing covered bird feeders will help protect the food from rain or getting damaged from the wind.
Another important factor with bird feeders is hygiene. Besides refilling them, a regular cleaning process for all your feeders in the field will help prevent spreading diseases for birds and keep them healthy.
Providing Clean Water For Birds during bird watch
Just like food, finding a clean and reliable water source is also important and sometimes challenging for birds during wintertime. Providing water in a dish or container and checking it regularly in case it freezes or preferably using a birdbath warmer might help your little friends and attract them to visit you during cold wintertime.
Visit birding sanctuary
Whatever you do, there are some species you can not see in your backyard or area. To discover those species, you might want to visit wildlife refuges and local preserves in your area to discover various species of birds.
Join Cornell Birds of North America for bird watching for beginners
If you are a volunteer to bird watching in winter, you might go one step further and join feeder watch to do this in a more informed and purposeful way. At the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, scientists, educators, engineers, students, and conservationists like you are working together to protect and understand wildlife of birds and other species.
Our main purpose is to protect the environment and major residents of the planet. People in this organization are doing this professionally. Joining them might help you learn new things as well as make your research during birding activities more scientific!
Thousands of people all around the globe join the Cornell bird-watching event at the Cornell lab every year. The data they gathered is collected at Cornell bird lab and used by scientists to discover the change in the life cycle of birds.
How the environmental pollution or habitat loss, climate change, and/or other diseases affect the birds, where they migrate due to these reasons, and as a result of the output they collected, they plan the precautions they need to put into operation.
They map out protection plans on a species-specific basis like helping the birds by supplying them with the necessary resources to survive.
Note down your experiences with birding
As there are no leaves of trees to hide the birds during winter for winter birding, obviously bird watching in winter is much easier than other times of the year. So, the winter is a perfect time to record their pattern of behaviors, note them down, and specialize yourself in this birding field.
Improving your skills over time might help you notice some behaviors, routines, or patterns that you were never aware of before, and also you might be amazed at how much distance you covered in birding and understanding nature and birdlife just in a few winter months.
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