Nature

5 Useful Tips to Create a Birder’s Paradise

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Think birding is boring? Think again. Consider that birding is a bit like scuba-diving without cumbersome equipment. Like the ocean, a world exists overhead full of living color and dynamic action. For a front row seat into the avian world, create a birding hotspot in your own backyard.

1. Arm yourself with knowledge.

5 Useful Tips to Create a Birder's Paradise

Photo: Painted bunting. Courtesy of Flickr/evangelio gonzalez

Many birders consider “The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd Edition” the bible of birding. Other good reference books include “Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America“, and “National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 6th Edition“.  Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) provides a downloadable checklist to track the birds you see and also a central Texas backyard bird guide, as well as a separate guide on common birds of Texas.

Grab a decent set of binoculars. Look for binoculars with a magnification of 8x. Prices for binoculars vary between $30 – $3200 depending on optics and weight. For a pair of binoculars under $100, try the Nikon 8x25mm Travelite Vi Binoculars.

2. Feed the masses.

blackcappedchickadee
Photo: Black capped chickadee. Courtesy of Flickr/mwms1916

Provide multiple feeders at differing heights offering varied bird food. Folks at birding specialty shops can make recommendations to get you started. Home improvement or big box stores usually sell a variety of feeders and food as well.

Cardinals, sparrows, titmice, and chickadees prefer seeds. A good mix of seed heavy in black oiled sunflower seeds works best for attracting a diverse group of birds. Offer birdseed in hanging feeders, window feeders or platform feeders.

Suspend sock tube feeders made of mesh-like fabric filled with niger seed (sometimes called thistle seed) to attract goldfinches and pine siskins. Buy seed in small quantities because if it dries out, birds stop eating it.

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