January 21, 2022 | Myrna Pearman, Chin Ridge Seeds (en-CA)
This article is part of our "Ask Myrna" Backyard Bird Feeding Series.
January is a difficult time of year for many people. The bustle of the holiday season has come and gone, the dark and cold of winter still envelopes us, and the return to everyday realities can be challenging.
One of the best ways to cure the January blues is to enjoy nature! While reading about nature or watching nature documentaries can boost our spirits, getting outside and being immersed nature is the healthiest option, especially at this time of year. Even short walks around local neighbourhoods and through local parks can refresh and invigorate.
Connecting children to nature is especially important. Many studies confirm that direct exposure to nature is essential to a child’s healthy physical and emotional development. The benefits of taking children outside and letting them creatively play cannot be overstated.
When it is too cold or dark for children to go outside to play, an idea might be to alternate screen time with letting children read nature-based books and/or engage in nature-related crafts.
One of the most enjoyable and transformative way to enjoy nature—for adults and children alike—is to bring nature into our own yards and gardens by setting out bird feeding stations. Backyard bird feeding, which is a hobby enjoyed by millions of people across North America, has become even more enthusiastically embraced over the past couple of years as people have been spending more time at home.
Backyard bird feeding stations benefit our avian neighbours by supplying them with a steady supply of food. But having the birds around benefits us too! Birds, which are fascinating to watch, provide their human observers with a strong connection to the natural world. Watching feeder birds is a great way to introduce children to nature and can kindle in them a healthy sense of wonder and joy.
Setting up a bird feeder is simple, easy and inexpensive. All that is needed is a sturdy feeder and, to start with, a small bag of medium sunflower chips. Once the birds start coming, this basic set up can be complemented with additional feeding stations and offerings, including black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, quality seed blends and suet. Many pleasant hours of nature watching will be the reward for starting this hobby!