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.
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 to a great opportunity to observe different bird species easier than at 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!
And here are 6 tips to ease the things by planning them for you while watching birds in the winter time and make it more enjoyable.
Prepare a top watchlist of specific winter bird species
Planning is important. Birding will be more 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 which 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 resident or temporary visitor…
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 body 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 and causing them to waste extra energy. Stressing them out in addition to cold winter days will make their life tougher.
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 winter time.
As the weather will be windy, rainy or snowy during winter time, 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
Just like food, finding a clean and reliable water source is also important and sometimes challenging for birds during winter time. Providing water in a dish or container and checking it regularly in case it freezes or preferably using a bird bath warmer might help your little friends and attract them to visit you during cold winter time.
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.
If you are a volunteer to bird watching, you might go one step further and join feederwatch 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 making your research during birding activity more scientific!
Thousands of people all around the globe join to Cornell bird watching event at Cornell lab every year. The data they gathered is collected at Cornell bird lab and used by scientist to discover the change of 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 the species-specific basis like helping the birds by supplying them the necessary resources to survive.
Note down your experiences on birding
As there are no leaves of trees to hide the birds during winter, obviously bird watch 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 on birding and understanding nature and bird life just in a few winter months.