Joy in the Air – Watching the Birds

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Bird watching can be a great way to add joy to your day and to the life of your older loved one. Anyone anywhere can attract birds to their neck of the woods with just a little water and a little bit of bird seed.

I became fascinated with birds because of my granny. She put out water each and every day and threw out bread and scraps to keep the birds coming to her Oklahoma yard. She had cardinals and sparrows, blue jays and mockingbirds come into her yard every day. They just brought her joy and she would watch them to tell what was going on in her world.

When I was older, my parents bought her a cement bird bath and it was always filled with fresh water sitting under her mimosa tree. After she passed, my parents rented a trailer and hauled it two thousand miles back to my house in the Sacramento Valley. It’s one of my most cherished possessions. It now sits under a pine tree in my backyard.

For the Love of Birds

Watching the birds is like adding a little freedom into your day. When they take off in flight, I feel like I’m going with them and soaring in the sky or swooping down to land on a favorite tree. Birds can be very entertaining. I have blue jays that hop and squawk all over my yard. When I mow the lawn on the riding tractor they’ll follow me to see if I’ve uncovered a juicy bug or a tender blade of grass.

Attracting the Birds

It takes very little to attract birds to almost any yard. What they love most is having water to drink and bathe in. I have a number of water containers scattered around my yard. I’ve placed them where I can see them from my windows inside so I can watch them when they splash around. There’s no need to buy an expensive, fancy bird bath. I use all kinds of containers for my bird baths. I like those large terra cotta dishes that are made to go under a large flower pot. I also use those black rubber containers meant for feeding farm animals. You can find great containers at yard sales or home improvement stores.

Bird feeders can also attract them and I have a number of them hanging from my porch. Again I put them where I can see them when the birds feed. Finches love a sock filled with thistle seeds. Bigger birds love sunflower seeds and of course the little hummers love a feeder filled with sugar water. I don’t buy hummingbird food, but just mix up some sugar with some really hot water and stir it until the sugar dissolves. Two cups of sugar to a half gallon of water is enough to fill up a number of feeders.

There are even bird feeders with suction cups that you can attach to your windows. They are great for apartment dwellers who can also attract birds to watch .

Making it Easy to Bird Watch

It’s a great idea to have your older loved one’s chair by a sunny window where they can watch the birds you attract to your yard. Chairs on the porch are another great spot to watch their silly antics. I like to have a little pair of binoculars handy so I can see them better. You can find very inexpensive ones at the discount stores like WalMart. I actually bought my grandsons all a pair for Christmas this year hoping they’ll catch on to the bird watching fever.

Sharing the Love of Birds

When the grandkids come over, they’re always amazed at all the birds in my yard. I point out which ones are doves, sparrows and blue jays. Sometimes we even have a hawk fly over or a crane fly by. In the spring and fall, the geese fly overhead to their favorite feeding places. I hope I make my grandkids think about the world around them and all the wonderful creatures just outside their doors.

We’re very fortunate in my neck of the woods to have a bird sanctuary just down the road. It has a great path where even someone in a wheelchair can get around. You might want to check out your locality and see if there’s a place where birds are in abundance. It’s a great outing for you and for your older loved one. Put on your hiking boots and don’t forget the binoculars! You won’t want to miss a single bird!

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