Wednesday, February 1, 2012

National Bird Feeding Month

btb Tomorrow may be the ground hog’s big day, but the rest of February belongs to the birds.

In 1994, John Porter, a former United States Representative from Illinois, proclaimed February as National Bird Feeding Month. This resolution was passed in an effort to help encourage people to discover the  fun and beneficial hobby of backyard bird feeding.

When I was a kid, I thought that bird watchers were real nerds. But now I start each day singing a different tune – and it is often accompanied by birdsong.

Backyard birding has been called one of the fastest growing outdoor sports in the nation. According to the  National Survey of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR), in 2006  more than 71 million people said that they enjoy wildlife watching and over 68 million  of them say that they do it around their homes. The report also says that these wildlife-watchers spent over $45 billion dollars on their hobby.  If I’m a nerd, I’m obviously one of many.

What I think is great about backyard birding is that it helps encourage people to take care of the planet. Once you start attracting wildlife to you yard, you soon learn that they like native plants and they DON’T like chemicals (such as pesticides, herbicides, etc.)

So if you aren’t already a bird watcher, I encourage you to give this fast growing hobby a peep – I mean a peak. It doesn’t take much of an investment to get started and winter is a great time to provide a little extra nourishment to neighborhood birds. Put out a bird bath or other water source or buy an inexpensive feeder and a bag of seed. Make sure that they are out of the reach of wandering cats or other predators. And then sit back and enjoy the music!

Maryland Statistics -
Total wildlife-watching participants . . . . . 1,491,000
Around-the-home participants . . . . . . . .  1,322,000
Total expenditures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $633,699,000

Virginia Statistics -
Total wildlife-watching participants . . . . . 2,312,000
Around-the-home participants . . . . . . . .  2,082,000
Total expenditures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $960,190,000

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