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New Year Brings New Opportunities to Enjoy the Birds!

Jan 05, 2021

If the past year is any indication, the future looks bright for the birds!

Carla-Mason-9872020 was a wild year, especially for those who discovered the joys of bird feeding and watching. Sales of bird seed, feeders and baths soared as more and more people became interested in bringing birds to their backyards.

Staying home allowed opportunities to see the wildlife outside our windows, to be more engaged with nature, and take comfort in its beauty. In the new year, birds continue to provide an easy reason to get out and escape in nature’s bounty.

Accenting our backyard birds, we often get “accidentals”, especially in PBmigration flyways. Near the Wild Bird Center home office in Glen Echo, MD, the first weekend of 2021 brought a multi-colored Painted Bunting, which was spotted in Great Falls Park. This “accidental” was far north of its typical winter habitat in Florida and Mexico, making bird watchers aflutter at the promise of seeing this rare caller colorize the grey sky in cold January. More than a thousand park visitors – from experienced birders to families with strollers – descended on the area where it was first spotted, hoping for a glimpse of a bird whose nickname is “nonpareil” (“having no equal”) due to its brilliant red, blue and yellow plumage – a painting come to life. Some at the park called the bird “a bona fide lifer,” and “a magical way to start the new year.”1

And it’s noCarla-Mason-981 wonder. Being in nature is a proven mood booster, and the sounds of birds have been shown to bring happiness. Researchers from California Polytechnic State University analyzed how much the natural sounds people hear when they are outdoors affects well-being.2 They found that birdsong piped in along hiking trails made hikers feel better and had a measurable effect on the Carla-Mason-973quality of their experiences on the trail. The same can be enjoyed at home, brought up close by our feeders and seed.

Since our founding in 1985, Wild Bird Centers has had the pleasure of helping people discover the joys of bird feeding. Time with the birds can have a positive impact on our outlook. I know we certainly appreciated their company in 2020, and hope we all continue to find fun with our feathered friends in the new year.

1 “Rare avian visitor draws eager eyes to C&O Canal,” The Washington Post, 1/4/2021

2 “Are birds the reason you feel good in nature?” Treehugger.com, 12/20/2021

Photos by Carla Mason