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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Who watches the birds?

History shows humans have long been fascinated with birds. There are nearly 10,000 known species that now inhabit the earth and can be seen anywhere in the world including your own backyard.

What is Bird Watching?
 Bird watching begins simply by observing birds. Gradually you can begin learning their names, identifying their markings, observing their activities, songs, behavior, and habitats.

Why bird watch?
 Birds can be an indication of overall environmental health. If you’re interested in the environment, paying attention to birds can give you insight into many aspects of nature. Also, with our busy lifestyles, we often forget to slow down and enjoy the surroundings. Bird watching gives you the chance to escape and relax.

How do I start?
To invite more birds to your yard you can set up a birdfeeder, birdbath, or birdhouse. I especially like my window feeders so I can really see the birds up close! Wild Birds Unlimited has several styles. I fill it with our No-mess blend so of course there will be no mess below the feeder.

This may be as far as you want to go in bird watching. Or as the birds become more familiar to you at the feeder you can look up their names in a book or field guide, investigate using binoculars, join the local Audubon Society, or open up your own Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop. There are no set rules to bird watching.

Michigan has over 400 species of birds. A few of the most common birds seen at a seed feeder in mid-Michigan are the Cardinal, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, House Sparrow, House Finch, American Goldfinch, European Starling, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, and Mourning Dove.

Bird watching is a wonderful hobby for people of all ages. It can be enjoyed almost anywhere at any moment of the day. All in all, bird watching is relaxing, fun, and educational. If you have any specific questions I can answer them in the blog or you can come into our Wild Birds Unlimited shops for more ideas or help.
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Kaneko said...

I also think birds watch us! and have seen several times black birds in my garden fence stearing at me through the window...
any views on that?? :)

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

I think as many birds watch us as we watch them. I hear how hummingbirds fly up to windows every spring and let people know that they are late in putting up feeders. House finches and House Sparrows are actually named "house" because they nest and forage for food around our houses.

Native Americans lured Purple Martins into their villages by hanging up gourds with holes cut in the sides to eat insects. Now martins are dependent entirely on humans for housing.

Long ago farmers also knew how owls ate mice, bluebirds and swallows ate bugs in the fields, chicken and grouse ate fleas and ticks and encouraged the birds to live nearby. Just as smart people today still put up bird houses to reduce the bug population in their yards.

Dr. Marzluff a wildlife biologist at the University of Washington studies crows and believes a crows ability to study humans gives them an evolutionary edge. “If you can learn who to avoid and who to seek out, that’s a lot easier than continually getting hurt,” Dr. Marzluff said. “I think it allows these animals to survive with us — and take advantage of us — in a much safer, more effective way.”

Right now humans are here to stay and birds have to find ways to work with us, around us, or away from us to survive. Birds that take note of what humans are doing do have a better chance at adaptation.

Kaneko said...

thanks :) never thought they might be observing me to learn from me...