If you have ever thought about setting up a bird feeder for your home or classroom, do it! You and your children will learn so much and the birds will appreciate your efforts. We’ve had a blast setting up three easy & inexpensive feeders around our home.
One of my big goals in moving outside the city is to get grounded again. I mean this physically by cultivating gardens and exploring forests but also figuratively. I found my life a bit out of control, at least in my head, and I needed to step back for myself and for my family.
We’ve integrated a few bird feeding “stations” around our home where the boys can observe inside and outside. I wanted a spot where my boys (and my husband and I) could be still watching wildlife, generally, come to our home.
Additionally, I wanted a place where birds felt welcomed and taken care of. If you build it, they will come. It is true. Since placing our feeders out we’re more surrounded by a variety of birds that we were upon our arrival six weeks ago.
Setting Up a Bird Feeding Station
We set up three feeders around our home:
- Seed – I placed this feeder outside a large window. You want your seed feeder to be at least 5 feet tall and away from trees so other critters (like squirrels and raccoons) leave the birds their seeds. You also want to clean it once a month to avoid bacteria.
- Fruit (I used a Suet Cage Feeder to hold the fruit.) – You want bruised or exposed fruit away from your seed feeder.
- Sugar Water – The hummingbirds and Orioles should be attracted to the fruit feeder but I put this one up because I liked having the color Red need our feeder. I am a bit conflicted about sugar water but the hummingbirds are happy. I mixed white sugar and warm water to create the feed.
A fruit feeder is great for attracting fruit-loving birds. Most fruit-loving birds prefer to eat insects over seeds. Birds that I am hoping to attract to this feeder include Orioles, Tanagers, and Bluebirds. Identifying types of birds is a fun activity for kids. Plus kids are skilled at attention to detail.
The tricks with fruit feeders are to place it far from the seed feeder and to place “bruised or exposed” fruit in the feeder. Fruit-loving birds only eat bruised or exposed fruit. The reason to place it far from the seed feeder is to create a special place for these birds, some of whom are known to be quite shy.
Learning about Bird Resources
We also included in our boys’ environment:
- Gentle Revolution’s Bird Bit of Intelligence Cards
- Birds of Washington State Guidebook
- Clipboard and Colored Pencils for Drawing
If you can’t get to a nursery or hardware store, Amazon should have most of what you need to start birding in your home or classroom. Bird feeding is particularly helpful to the birds during the winter and in urban areas. The fact that we live outside the city, at least at this point in the year, our feeders are a nice bonus for them (and for us!).
I grew up taking this stuff for granted. So now I am in a place in my life, as a parent, educator, and homeowner of wanting to cultivate a back yard oasis for wildlife (well, most wildlife). These three bird feeders are a start. They will attract and care for the birds while igniting my sons’ desire to learn more and to create a sense of awe and wonder of the natural world.
Don’t be shy if you live in an urban area. The birds need you even more!