Flying Colors is a sponsored column on the hobby of backyard bird feeding written by Michael Zuiker, owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center. Visit the store at 2437 N. Harrison Street or call 703-241-3988.
It is not a movie. It is not a Hallmark special event. It is simply the “Year of the Bird”. All Birds. Any bird. But not simply a year. It is a recognition; an awareness that birds, which dominate most of the planet, are an incredibly diverse, beautiful and important living species. A recognition that will be observed all year long.
Four great organizations — National Geographic Society, Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Orinthology, Birdlife International — will be embarking on a yearlong effort, dedicated to celebrating and protecting birds and their habitats.
What exactly is Year of the Bird? That is a good question. Throughout the year, all four of these organizations, along with more than 100 other participating organizations, will be celebrating birds while raising awareness about their troubles. These organizations are calling on you to “Bird Your World”, by discovering why your backyard is an important jigsaw piece to an entire continent.
Birds are so easily dismissed. How can that be? Well first of all, no one looks up into the sky anymore. Or straight ahead for that matter. But that is where they are! There are over 10,000 species of birds on the planet. They fly. That is reason enough to take notice. One minute they are here. Then they are gone. But they are not gone.
They fill our world with a musical symphony of songs. They stimulate our eyes with majestic colors. They confound us with aerial flights that seem impossible against the earth’s gravity. They help control the vast insect populations. They reseed plants from one yard to another; from one block to another; from one town to another.
The raptor species, of birds, helps keep in check the mice, moles and other vermin in yards, parks and city alleys. They also help cull the small bird populations that sometimes becomes overcrowded and stressed in our small ecosystems where we live.
Birds use a lot of their energy helping our planet thrive. They are the behind the scenes workers, constantly out in the rain, sleet, cold, and hot summers. They don’t ask for anything in return, but wouldn’t it be nice if they didn’t have to?
By putting up birdfeeders in your yard full of sunflower seeds, suet pellets, mealworms, and so much more, you can help them survive all of these elements. A birdbath filled with warm clean water, or cold clean water is another way to say thanks to your feathered friends. Water is an essential part of a birds’ survival any time of the year.
This year, we will focus on bringing the lives of birds into your life. We will do this with our bi-weekly blog. We will do this with live talks in our store. We will do this by highlighting the great organizations that are promoting and educating us on the health of all birds.
Here is a link for the National Geographic Society that will get you started into this great yearlong event. Click on the count me in button to become part of the worldwide effort to protecting birds today and for the next hundred years.
Next issue we will continue to discuss the efforts and effects your feeding has on the birds in the Winter months. We will also help you become involved in the Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 16 through 19, which our CEO Jim Carpenter helped to create and in which all 300 plus Wild Birds Unlimited stores sponsor and support.