February is for the birds!

February is National Bird Feeding Month. I love being able to tell how bad a winter storm will be by the way the birds are flocking to and eating winterberry and suet, which is a good indication of very cold temperatures because these are high energy foods. Birds look for natural food sources first, such as natural seed in the landscape, fruit, and insect larvae in winter before they appear at your backyard feeder. Feeding the birds supplements their normal diet. Black oil sunflower seed is the preferred seed of over 50 species of songbirds, and none of it will go to waste. Look for 40-pound bags, which are usually much more economical.


Provide essential elements in your bird garden, such as food, water, a place to raise their young, and shelter, which can be provided by roosting boxes and evergreen shrubs and trees. Feeding birds and providing habitat with native plants is a very important and fun hobby. Creating a bird sanctuary brings color and activity to your winter garden and is fun for both the young and the young at heart.

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) brings more fun to February. On February 14, birder Jim Wilson brought students from local schools to locate and identify birds at the Arboretum. Click here for the morning’s results, and here to read a newspaper article about the event.

Although the GBBC weekend is over, anyone who wishes to count the birds in their yard may enter data here through tomorrow, February 28.

Robyn Affron
Visitor Services Coordinator
Certified Professional Horticulturist


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