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Close-up of a female American Goldfinch who has the birdfeeder all to herself in the backyard.

February is a popular time of the year for bird lovers. Bird watching and feeding during the depths of winter provide some of the most beautiful birding opportunities available. The sheer diversity of birds in winter climates garners much attention. Bird watching and feeding continue to serve as significant contributors to America’s close relationship with nature. Unfortunately, wild birds have it tough in the winter because their favored natural resources aren’t as plentiful as at other times of the year.

February is designated as National Bird Feeding Month. Whether you are an old hand or a rookie, this month is the ideal time for bird feeders, watchers, and anyone else in the spirit to extend a hand to help these avian friends.

History of Bird Feeding Month

Established in 1994 by Illinois Congressman John Porter, National Bird Feeding Month was created to educate the public on the seasonal journeys of birds. It was also established to encourage individuals to supplement wild birds’ natural diet of insects and weed seeds during one of the coldest months of winter. Congressman Porter urged Americans to value the significance of birds both in ecology, as well as in the hearts and minds of people everywhere.

Backyard Feeders

A great way to help birds during the winter is by putting out backyard feeders. Buying a feeder–if you don’t have one–and keeping it full can attract new birds to your landscape. It is important to note that birds may prefer some feeders over others, depending on the food type. For example, goldfinches like thistle and may prefer tube feeders whereas hummingbirds like nectar feeders. Be sure to keep the bird feeders filled and a pair of binoculars handy. Read A Beginner’s Guide to Backyard Bird Feeding from the National Wildlife Federation for other helpful tips.

Ways to Celebrate

Ways to observe National Bird Feeding Month and birding throughout the year include the following:

  • Joining a birding club
  • Learning a new species
  • Sharing photos and discoveries
  • Starting a bird journal
  • Teaching someone to identify birds

Extension Birding Activities

For more bird-watching information, check out the session of the Eco-Friendly Friday Series that features Alabama Wildlife Foundation’s Allison Mathis. Watch the session on Facebook or Panopto. Visit www.aces.edu to discover more Alabama Extension birding activities for people of all ages.