In yesterday’s post, I flippantly stated that feeders are cheaters, which some might have interpreted as a slur against backyard birding. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a huge fan of the feeder watch. In fact, quite a few of my lifers — sparrows, chickadees, and finches — have been spotted at feeders. Bird feeders, and those that maintain them, play an invaluable role in the sustenance of countless birds otherwise threatened by dwindling habitat and resources. Plus, who doesn’t love watching birds in winter from the warmth of their own kitchen?
My point was that there is something exciting about going to the bird rather than expecting it to come to you. Most species aren’t interested in birdseed and suet. They require the kind of nutrition on the wing found in forests or wetlands or meadows. To spot these birds, you need to go on a little safari. It really is more satisfying to identify a bird obscured by branches, flitting from tree to tree, than it is to pick one out perched on a birdbath in the backyard. But birds are birds, and we love them everywhere, don’t we?