“Feed more birds, have more fun” is the mantra of Bill Thompson III in his new book Identifying and Feeding Birds. From Peterson Guides and Bird Watcher’s Digest (of which Bill is the editor) have teamed up to bring this helpful resource to the hands of backyard bird watchers to increase both their odds of attracting more birds and enjoying them even more thoroughly.
Identifying and Feeding Birds covers the four necessities for birds to survive: food, water, shelter, and a place to nest. Maximizing your efforts to improve each of these categories in your yard, no matter what size, is essential to make the most of your bird enjoyment.
Several pages in various chapters of Identifying and Feeding Birds explain ways to create a natural environment for the birds you feed. A wonderful list of bird-friendly plants helps you choose which trees, shrubs, vines, and flowers to include in your yard.
Crafting a backyard full of native plantings, what we like to call “birdscaping”, is a great way to increase the variety of birds that visit. Plus, the plants and water features provide additional intrinsic value to your outdoor experience.
Bill also covers traditional bird feeding, going into detail on nearly every type of feeder and food offering. There’s a handy page covering the main groups of birds that come to feeders and what they mostly eat. Ten common bird feeding myths are also debunked. Find out if Birds will starve if you stop feeding in winter and if Feeders keep birds from migrating among others.
For attracting nesting birds, Bill’s included a reference chart for cavity-nesting birds. The dimensions and mounting info provide all you need to get started constructing your own artificial nesting places for the birds.
An entire chapter is dedicated to the potential challenges you are likely to encounter as you feed more birds. Bill’s spent a lot of time feeding and watching birds and provides his personal anecdotes of what he’s been through.
While the first section of Identifying and Feeding Birds is dedicated to feeding birds, the second section covers identification. 125 Common Backyard Birds are included to assist you in figuring out what birds are visiting your yard. Large color photographs and range maps plus detailed text explain what to look for. There are also helpful hints on what to do to enhance your odds of attracting each bird to your yard.
The common backyard bird section will not replace a full field guide but provides a handy reference to either discern what bird is coming to your water feature or to assist in your aspirations of attracting new species.
Bill Thompson III’s humorous style makes Identifying and Feeding Birds a fun read, moving it beyond a tutorial or do-it-yourself guide to feeding birds. You’ll learn a lot and enjoy every minute of it.
“Feed more birds, have more fun.”
Included in the book is an offer for 2 free issues to Bird Watcher’s Digest. This is one of the best bird-focused magazines out there and a real joy to read.
Disclaimer: The above book was given to us by the publisher for free to review.