By: Erica Rymer, Events & Marketing Specialist
When you think about February, many things come to mind: Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day and Black History Month, just to name a few. But did you know it is also National Bird Feeding Month?
As it turns out, February is one of the most brutal months of the year when it comes to our feathered friends. In 1994, Congressman John Porter noted that February was one of the toughest months for birds to survive. His goal in creating this observance was to encourage people to provide food, water and shelter to birds, especially in areas that experience harsh winters and where natural resources are scarce.
Learn About Local Birds
One of the first steps to helping protect birds is learning more about them. Even though we see birds daily, we may know little to nothing about which species are local, what they need to survive, and what we can do to help.
The Akron Zoo Aviary at Grizzly Ridge can be a great place to start. This habitat features more than 60 species of birds that are native to North America, many of which have been rescued and rehabilitated after being injured in their native habitat. The aviary also has displays to teach you about birds in your area!
For example, did you know that you can tell where birds live, what they eat, and how they fly just by looking at their build? You can also learn about which species are year-round Ohio residents, and which species migrate. By understanding your local feathered friends’ needs, you are one step closer to being ready to help them survive the winter!
Be a Champion of the Natural World
1. Put up a bird feeder in your yard! Birds appreciate the presence of food, especially when many of their natural food sources, like berries, are scarce. Plus, many species need places to stop and “refuel” as they migrate during this season. Different types of birds are attracted to different feeders, so if you have the space, providing multiple types of feeders is also a huge help to our feathered friends.
2. Install a heated bird bath or fountain. Many sources of water are frozen in February, which can limit places for birds to land for a drink. By providing fresh, clean water, you will attract a wide variety of birds, who will remember your yard as a safe space to land year after year!
3. Become a bird watcher and learn about a new species or two! Projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count encourage amature bird watchers to help track bird populations around the world and provide essential data to researchers. You can also get involved by downloading a bird watching app, or visit your Akron Zoo, to learn more about local bird species.