About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

5 ways to help migrating birds

animated map of migrants in western hemisphere - species identified
 Click to match a number to its corresponding bird species
As you might imagine, migration takes a toll on the birds. It is not uncommon for birds to lose one-fourth to one-half of their body weight as they migrate thousands of miles. Before the journey north to their breeding grounds birds accumulate fat to help maintain their energy reserves. Sometimes, however, reserves are not enough. That’s where you can help by creating “stopover sites” in your yard with plenty of food, water and shelter.

At this time of year the numbers and variety of birds appearing in your yard can actually change every morning as many small songbirds migrate through the night. Species such as warblers, vireos, orioles, grosbeaks, tanagers, buntings and sparrows all migrate overnight.

To encourage migrating birds to stop at your yard, you just have to follow 5 easy steps:
1. Keep Your Feeders Full
Food is the most essential element, providing birds with the energy, stamina and nutrition they need. The busier the feeders, the safer your yard will appear to passing birds, which will result in more birds stopping to investigate.

2. Provide a Source of Water
Birds continue to need a source of water for drinking to maintain their metabolism during dry or cold weather.

3. Protection from the Elements
As the sun goes down, some birds head for a perch in leafy bushes, evergreens, vines or dense brush piles for the night. You can also put up roosting and nesting boxes to give birds a warm, dry place to stay overnight.

4. Keep feeders and feeding areas clean
To help reduce the possibility of disease transmission in birds, clean feeders and feeding areas at least once a month. You can get your feeders professional cleaned at Wild Birds Unlimited, or use a mild one part vinegar to nine parts water solution to disinfect all of your feeders. Keep seed and foods dry by adding Feeder Fresh; discard food that is wet or looks moldy. Birdbaths also need to be scrubbed with a brush and water should be replaced every three to days to discourage mosquito reproduction. 

5. Reduce window collisions
Decals like Window Alert placed on the outside of windows reflects ultraviolet sunlight brilliantly which is invisible to humans, but glows like a stoplight for birds.

When you think about migration facts, it is astonishing to learn of the amazing feat that many birds accomplish twice each year as they move between their summer and winter range and back again. And to help enjoy the full benefit of songbirds passing through, consider getting a good field identification guide that contains color pictures or illustrations and a quality pair of binoculars.

Watch more on the video: Bird migration, a perilous journey https://youtu.be/migration
  
Related Articles:
- The Journey North: Bird Migration Maps http://bit.ly/pbk4Eb
- Great Horned Owl Singing at Night http://bit.ly/qKeKDM
- Are Horned Larks Common in Mid-Michigan? http://bit.ly/qmAbt7
- How do Birds Migrate? http://bit.ly/nNCI6d
- What birds migrate from Michigan? http://bit.ly/qa0CVU

View full lesson: http://youtu.be/Q-mMMpl_T80

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