PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - I love attracting birds to my yard. Every time I post bird pictures or videos, someone always asks how I get the different types of birds to come into my yard. Attracting birds is simple, but my expertise is not birds, so we should talk with an expert for tips and tricks to make your birding experience as exciting as possible. For that expertise, we had a discussion with Rachel Handel, the communications director at the Audobon Society of Western Pennsylvania.
Elizabeth: Hi Rachel! Why would you want to attract birds in the first place?
Rachel Handel: I think a lot of people get very excited about attracting birds to the yard because they're colorful, they're kind of playful when you are watching them and seeing their behaviors. I think a lot of people really connect to them, which has been something that we've really seen through the pandemic, especially when people have been home more.
Ray: When you go to a store there are so many types of seed, how do you choose?
Rachel Handel: You know, I kind of look at birdseed like a crab cake. When you order a crab cake when you're out, you want a crab cake that has lots of crab and not too much filler. So, if you're paying a little bit less, you're gonna get a lot more filler in there, and you're not going to be as happy. Your tummy is gonna say, let's not go back to that restaurant. Kind of the same way with birds. If they go to a feeder, and there's a feeder that has a seed that's got a lot of filler, they're spitting that filler out to get to good stuff. So, what you want to do is just get the good stuff from the start and then you don't have to worry about it.
Elizabeth: is there anything else you should be doing?
Rachel Handel: So what we recommend is that on a weekly basis, you take down your feeder, clean it with soap and water and let that dry and then soak it for about 15 minutes in a solution that is 10 parts water one part bleach. Then you let that dry again and put your bird feeder out. That really helps to ensure that you're keeping the bird safe.
Ray: So there are smartphone apps to help identify what is in your yard, are there any other ways?
Rachel Handel: The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania actually created a "What's In Your Backyard" guide, and it's just a very small guide that can show you birds in your backyard of wildflowers that might be back there, even mammals and it's a really great way to learn what is in your backyard. I think a lot of people don't realize how many interesting insects and birds and mammals are in their backyard.
The Audobon Society of Southwestern PA has other tips and tricks.
You can learn more on their website at this link!
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