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Table of Contents
Feeding Winter Birds
Learn About Birds
Looking Out for Your Birds
AVKO Dyslexia Research Foundation
Impresa Publishing's Measure Match
Picture Book Learning
New Vision Systems
God's World Current Events Newspapers
Teaching Home Magazine Back Issues
Sunnyside Up: Humorous Anecdote
"Are not five sparrows sold for two cents?
Yet not one of them is forgotten before God."
Almost half the households in the United States
for wild birds, and more than 100 North American bird species
supplement their natural diets with birdseed, suet, fruit, and
nectar that are obtained from these feeders.
By feeding birds we bring them close so we
can see and study
them more easily. It is an easy and enjoyable way to start
teaching children about wildlife.
Supplementing their food source also makes
easier during the winter when it can be especially challenging to
find food and water.
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The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian
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Feeding Winter Birds
The basics of feeding birds is to provide:
* A variety of quality seed.
* Fresh water for drinking and bathing.
* Ample cover, preferably provided by native plants, which
provides potential nesting sites and a source of natural food.
Keep in mind that bird feeders also present
such as window collisions, predation, and exposure to disease.
It may take only a few hours, or weeks, for
birds to discover
your new feeders. Help birds find this new food source by
scattering sunflower seeds near your feeders.
Birds visit feeders most often in the early
again just before dusk.
The balance of this article will expand on
Most of the information in this article was
the following sources:
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
National Audubon Society
Wild Birds Unlimited
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Helping or Hurting
Since feeders only supplement natural foods
and birds don't
settle in and dine at just one place, most species will not
suffer if feeders go empty for days or even weeks at a time.
Studies suggest that backyard feeders are
not creating a
population of dependent wintering birds.
"All the same," as one bird feeder put it,
"birds that come
into your yard at dusk on a cold evening are hungry, and one does
not like to disappoint one's guests. It's my pleasure to make
sure that they always find something to eat in my yard."
Sometimes birds suffer more from lack of water
Birds need water for drinking and bathing all year around,
including in the winter when natural supplies may be frozen, and
in dry weather during the summer.
* Set up at least one birdbath.
* The surface should be easy to clean, and there should
gently sloping shallow end.
* Place the birdbath away from the feeders to keep the
from being contaminated.
* Empty water from your birdbath every day: Brush or wipe
clean and rinse, then refill the birdbath
with fresh water.
* Clean it once a week, using a 5–10 percent solution of
AVKO Individualized Keyboarding
* Use the keyboarding program that teaches reading and
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* Visit the AVKO website for information on dyslexia, freebies,
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Different birds are attracted by different
kinds of seed.
By supplying a variety of food, you are more
attract many different species.
To attract a particular bird to your backyard,
you need to
1. If that species is in your area.
See a list of the 25 birds most frequently
seen by Feeder
Watchers in your area during the 2003-2004 Feeder Watch season.
2. The food they prefer.
See Online Bird Guide at
Experts recommend black oil sunflower seed
as one of the
best single seeds to attract a variety of birds to your feeder.
* It has a high meat-to-shell ratio and a high fat content.
* It's small and thin-shelled, making it easy for small
to handle and crack.
* They're also cheaper than the larger grey-and-white striped
sunflower seeds with thicker seed coats.
Mixes usually contain a lot of filler that
birds won't eat.
They rummage through the seeds in the feeder and kick the
unwanted seed onto the ground where it rots.
* Instead, buy the seed you know your birds want.
* Provide only one type of food per feeder.
A preferred food of the finch family of birds.
expensive, and thus needs to be placed in a hanging tube with
tiny holes, designed especially for nyjer.
Suet is a high-energy food and is especially
birds wintering in cold locations. It turns rancid when
temperatures rise above 70 degrees.
According to recent studies, birds prefer
beef suet over commercial suet cakes. Ask at your grocery store
butcher counter if you don't see packages of suet on display.
It's best to offer seeds and suet in separate
rather than providing seed-filled suet cakes. Many seed-eating
birds do not like suet and can become covered with the fat when
trying to pick seeds out of the mixtures. The grease may cause
feathers on the birds' faces and heads to become matted or to
fall out, exposing bare skin to cold weather.
* Safflower Seed
* White Millet
* Cracked Corn (vulnerable to rot)
* Fruit, such as apple or chopped and soaked raisins.
* Crushed Peanuts
What Not To Feed
* Do not put out salted peanuts as most garden birds cannot
process salt and will die if they are given
* Do not feed birds anything with sugar or chocolate in
* Never just put out plain peanut butter as birds can choke
Always mix with it seed.
Keep seed dry, free of mold, and safe from
storing it in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid, such as a
clean garbage can. Discard damp seed.
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Feeders need to be compatible with the food
that is being
dispensed and the feeding habits of the birds for which it is
intended. Following are a variety of feeders to accommodate
specific types of birds and their diets. Choosing more than one
will help attract more species and avoid feeder congestion.
There are three categories of feeders.
1. Tray, Ground, or Platform Feeders
* Screen-bottomed trays sit several inches off the ground
your deck and help to keep grain or seeds and bird droppings from
coming in contact with each other.
* Some feeders have covers to keep out snow and rain.
* Some may have wire mesh to keep out squirrels and large
2. Hopper Feeders
* Position on a pole, branch, or patio fixture about five
off the ground.
* A metal hopper feeder is sturdy, weather resistant to
and decay, and easy to clean.
* Keeps several pounds of mixed seed dry and ready.
3. Tube Feeders
* A sunflower-seed tube feeder is a good choice to start
* Generally made from plastic, hollow tube with multiple
* Select a model with metal ports around the seed dispensers
protect the feeder from nibbling squirrels
and house sparrows.
* Hang the feeder at least five feet off the ground.
* Keeps seed dry.
* Size of perch will determine types of birds that will
* Specialized tube feeders for Nyjer or peanuts.
These wire mesh cages can be hung from trees,
near other feeders, or from a wire stretched between trees at
least five feet from the ground to keep it out of the reach of
Where To Place Your Feeders
Considering your convenience and the birds
* Where they are easy for your family to see.
* Where it is convenient for you to refill them.
* In a sheltered area, out of the pounding rain and howling
wind, so feed stays dry.
* Close to natural shelter such as trees or shrubs, which
refuge to birds as they wait their turn to
* About 10 feet from cover that could hide squirrels and
* Vary the heights of your feeders and spread them out
birds can use them and to prevent overcrowding.
See more information at
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Feeding birds does not require much effort,
maintenance is necessary. Birds can become ill from moldy or
decomposing seeds and hulls that accumulate on feeder trays. Bird
droppings and other contaminants may also spread infectious bird
1. Regularly Clean Feeders
* Bird feeders should be cleaned every month.
Scrub with soap and water, then dip into a
solution of one
part bleach and nine parts water (or one part vinegar to 20 parts
* Use gloves and wear a mask for your own protection from
* Rinse feeders well and dry thoroughly before refilling.
2. Clean Ground below Feeders
* Rake up birdseed hulls and other waste at least once
Moldy or spoiled food is unhealthy not only
for birds but
for your outside pets and can attract unwanted
3. Preventative Care
* To help keep food cleaner, use feeders that allow birds
perch away from the food.
* In wet weather, put out only enough seed to last several
* Do not build feeders out of plywood; some birds eat the
* Check that feeders have no sharp edges that would scratch
birds and cause them to become susceptible
4. In Case of a Disease Outbreak
If you notice dead birds or obviously sick
less active and less alert) near your feeders:
* Stop feeding immediately.
* Discard all seed.
* Clean and disinfect all feeders and the ground below
* Wait a week before resuming feeding.
* Check to see if your state is collecting information
on dead birds.
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Learn About Birds
Most birds that come to your feeders can be
without any equipment, but often you may need some help.
You might also get interested enough in birds
to go birding
during the spring, summer, or fall months.
* Get better views of the bird.
* See details to help with the identification.
* Look for an easy-to-use guide.
* Find a guide that features birds in your region.
Resource: See article, "Backyard Birdwatching,"
plus order binoculars and bird guides at
Use these for recording the birds you see
and their habits,
as well as for art and writing exercises if your child gets
interested in birds.
* Keep a notebook exclusively for taking down details of
* Make a list of all the varieties of birds you see.
* Use the notebook for sketches of birds.
* Write a description of how the birds act and interact
each other at your feeder.
What to look for
A number of features will help your identification.
the names of different parts of a bird's body to help when
writing your notes or when you are describing the bird to others.
* Find a section in your science texts and learn about the
parts of birds.
Learn how to identify birds at
See beautiful diagrams at
Label a diagram at
Online Bird Guide
A dynamic online guide for bird species identifications
in-depth information, including description, food, audio sounds,
video, and distribution maps.
* Study the purpose of various bird species in God's creation.
* Look up Bible passages about birds and how God uses them
as illustrations for us.
* Read articles about birds and the false theory of evolution.
(Search for "birds.")
God's World News
a Welcome Complement
to Your Curriculum.
These weekly current events and activity newspapers
today's news and discoveries to help you teach your children
to develop a Christian perspective on world events. Your
children will love the fascinating stories, colorful photos, and
engaging activities. http://www.gwnews.com/theteachinghome/
(Please use the special link above so that
your order will be
credited to The Teaching Home's affiliate account. Thank you.)
Join the 2004-2005 Feeder Watch
Sign up now and receive an instructional kit,
bird identification poster and a bird feeding handbook.
Create Your Own Online Wildlife List
Start a bird list and see how many different
birds you can
Plant Your Own Backyard Wildlife Habitat
The National Wildlife Federation will help
you create a
thriving habitat for wildlife that will attract, shelter, and
feed birds. http://www.nwf.org/backyardwildlifehabitat/
View and Study the Art of J. J. Audubon
Learn To Draw a Bird
Provide Bird Houses
Clean out or put up bird houses in your yard
to give wrens a
nice warm place to roost during the winter.
51 Back Issues of
Teaching Home Magazine
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Full of information, inspiration, and support
goes out of date, these issues are relevant and applicable to
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In each issue an average of 58 home schoolers
practical how-to articles, encouraging letters, and ready-to-use
Looking Out for Your Birds
Squirrels are a notorious nuisance because
of their acrobatic
abilities and determination in eating bird feed. You can:
* Try to stop them by placement of feeders and devices
them out of the feed.
* Distract them with their own feeders with lower-priced
such as a corn ear holder and locate them
far away from bird
* When all else fails, pretend you are feeding squirrels
enjoy watching them!
Colliding with a window is the most common
cause of bird
death associated with feeders. To avoid this problem, position
feeders at least three feet from your window.
If collisions persist, fruit-tree netting
stretched taut a
few inches in front of the glass is the best deterrent.
Cats account for about 30 percent of birds
killed at feeders
(bells on their collars do not hamper their stealthy hunting skills).
By keeping your cat indoors, you will not
birds, but also keep your cat safe from traffic, disease, and
fights with neighborhood pets and wildlife. For more information,
If a hawk starts regular visits to your feeders,
feeding until the smaller birds disperse and the hawk looks for
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God Loves You.
Because we have been separated from God by
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died in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Jesus
Christ as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
"For by grace you have been saved through
faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
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