Those of you chasing golf balls in Florida in the warming sun or those of you basking on a beach down in the islands or in the Sunshine State, may not think that watching birds can be very interesting, especially when you’re working on your game or watching the passing scenery on your warm and sunny beach.
But to those of us who don’t mind these southern Maine winters much, a bird feeder can be a source of entertainment and mystery. What does feeding our birds have to do with conservation, you might ask? The answer has been part of the Ogunquit Conservation Commission’s mission since its inception.
One of our main goals is to preserve Ogunquit’s open spaces including marshes, wetlands and wildlife habitats as well as open land – these are the habitats of our native birds, thus feeding our birds supports our native bird population and hopefully we have placed aside part of our property for birds – and incidentally, this kind of property, wooded and full of shrubbery, makes for an ideal drainage area, especially if your property slopes as ours does.
We have a simple ‘squirrel proof’ feeder – you might have one of these – the feeding perch is on an adjustable swing arrangement, so you can adjust the weight of the perch, for, say, two bluejays – two jays will weigh down the perch, closing a cover in front of a feeding tray – ingenious! And we have only seen two or three squirrels fool this – in each case, those squirrels were aided by ice that kept the tray open or allowed the squirrel to hang from the icy top of the feeder and dangle down in front of the feeding tray.
My uncle, who lived in Wellfleet, not far from the Massachusetts Audubon Center there, called it cheep entertainment (get it?). He had more birds on his property then we ever saw at the nearby Audubon trails – not water birds, though, thank heaven.
We have no rare feathered visitors, but it’s fun to see what kind of birds come there at different times of the day and winter as well, knowing we are doing our part to help our native species survive both with food and habitat while they are spreading the seeds of our native plants when the snow’s off the ground.