The times we live in are challenging for humans and for many of Earth’s creatures who are likewise required to adapt to the rapidly changing world of our creation. We can learn much about such adaptation strategies by watching our kin. Indeed, cultivating in ourselves and our children the love of life, the biognosis of the natural world, is essential for human resilience and thrivability on the planet. Below, guest author Ernie Allison introduces us to some of these skills and touches on why they are of value to us.
Bundle Up and Watch the Birds
Winter is sneaking up on us, quicker than we may think, so we should be ready for it. Though it’s beautiful right now, with the changing of the leaves, this is going to change very quickly. The backyard and garden are going to become dreary, lifeless places and they don’t look like they could be much fun. But that’s where I know Beings that can help change that. Let me tell you a bit about them;
Invite our Feathered Friends to Dinner
In winter our local birds have a hard time procuring food and water, which they need to survive. Once the ground is frozen, the trees are barren and the crops are gone, there’s not a whole lot to eat for our little friends. This is why they need our help and we should be happy to give it. Setting up a decorative bird feeder not only helps the birds it beautifies our yard or garden. Before setting up the feeder, make sure you find the right spot. Best positioning would be in site of one of your windows, so you can enjoy the chirpy bunch from the cozy warmth of your house, all day long. Have the children help filling the feeder with seeds, nuts, dried fruits or ready mixed birdfeed to make them part of the adventure.
What’s Dinner without Drink?
Just like us humans, birds need water to survive and thrive. In winter when their water sources are frozen shut, it can be a real challenge for them to get enough liquids. Make sure you renew the water frequently, because once frozen it won’t serve its purpose. You can find out how to make water more readily available and avoid freezing by reading this “birdscape” article. Both you and the birds will be enchanted by how much a winter garden still has to offer. An opportunity to bathe will definitely earn you gratitude from the birds and free, family friendly entertainment.
Do You Know Your Birds?
How many of us, through environment and busy work schedules, have lost touch with nature and our surroundings? Not all, but quite a few. Helping our local birds to survive the winter can be, among other things, an educational experience for young and old. It can also be the magnet that draws your children away from the PC/TV that has become so overpowering. Bird feeders attract more than one kind of bird and it can be very exciting to discover which ones come to visit. If you don’t know them, look them up. If you don’t have books picturing them, go online or to the library to quench your thirst for knowledge. It’s fun getting to know your local fowl and it’s a game you can carry into summer. Have your children see how many of the winter fed birds they recognize on your next hike. It definitely beats “Are we there yet?”
Tame Your Visitors
It’s easy to get birds accustomed to your presence. The important thing is to move slowly. If you hold a few crumbs of bread or some raisins in the palm of your hand and hold it out for the birds, you might get them used to eating out of your hand. It takes time and patience, but it’s a process that is worth it. Your children can try too. The quieter they are, the easier it will be to lure the bird onto your hand. The important thing is, once it lands, don’t reach for it. Let it check out the situation. Most likely, it will take a few times before your new friend is trusting enough, to perch on your hand to eat. With patience and time it will happen.
See, it’s worth bundling up and getting out into the garden to watch, feed and water the birds that need our help in winter. They will thank you with cheerful chirping and fluttering wings and bring your winter garden back to life. Enjoy and stay warm!
About the author: Ernie Allison sometimes wishes he were a bird so he could fly and get a real birds-eye view. Alas, he still hasn’t grown wings so he’s enjoying watching them instead.