Things with Feathers: Bird City
After a dreary end to February, the sun is finally out, temperatures are slowly rising and snow has all but melted in the Sioux Falls area.
And — most importantly — the birds are back.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve slowly turned my front porch into somewhat of a bird sanctuary by filling a three-tubed feeder that I received for Christmas with black oil sunflower seeds, hung a homemade birdhouse that I bought at a winter farmers’ market in Brandon and even added a little glass tray for jelly and oranges (in the hopes of attracting some of the more picky Orioles).
Traffic was slow in Bird City at first — but temperatures were also far below zero at the time, so I don’t blame the sparrows for staying hidden.
But, spring hinted at an appearance over the weekend, and suddenly there were House Sparrows, Lincoln Sparrows, a pair of Downy Woodpeckers and even a White-breasted Nuthatch visiting the feeders within a matter of ten minutes of each other on Saturday morning.
To be honest, I’m not a hardcore birder. I don’t travel to check certain birds off of a lifelong list or brave freezing temperatures with a pair of binoculars. Heck, sometimes I even need to break out my bird book to tell the difference between a finch and a sparrow.
However, even knowing as little as I do about birds makes life more interesting. I listen for birds each time I walk outside, can point out the occasional cardinal to friends and always find myself stopping to stare at treetops in search of camouflaged birds.
If you’re interested in birding, start with a feeder from your local store. Hang it near a window or in your backyard, and always make sure to keep it stocked with sunflower seeds, cracked corn or something delicious for your backyard friends so they keep coming back to visit.
And who knows: maybe you’ll become an amateur birder in the process, too.