MONROE CO., N.Y. — Not all birds fly south for the winter, which is lucky for us here in Upstate New York, as birding can be a wonderful activity for the whole family all year long. Birding is the observation of birds in their natural habitats. It can be done inside and outside of the home, through a window, on a porch, or on a trail. During these challenging times, birding is a great way to connect with nature, even as we are stuck in our homes.
Next time you are near a window or outside, take a moment to notice the birds. Connecting to the natural world has numerous health benefits for all ages. It allows us to recharge, decrease anxiety, reduce stress and loneliness, improve cognitive development, and not to mention, it can be fun! Birds are wonderful and wacky creatures with stories to share, once you begin to pay attention.
Learn more about our feathered friends through upcoming programs with 4-H. As part of our monthly Mighty Monday series, Monroe County 4-H is offering the virtual workshop “Bring in the Birds! Feeding our Feather Friends,” on Monday, January 11th from 6-7 p.m. In this workshop, we will explore common winter birds seen in Upstate New York, the basics of birdwatching, and how we can safely attract birds to our outside spaces. We will create two simple feeders to provide a healthy snack for the birds.
To participate in the hands-on activities at home, we ask families to have the following items:
Repurposed Jar Bird Feeder:
• clean jar (ex. Mason jar or pasta jar)
• wooden dowel ~10 inches long
• twine, yarn, or ribbon
• strong glue (ex. Gorilla glue)
• optional: beads for decoration
Suet Bird Feeder:
• ½ cup bacon fat (can substitute with lard or shortening)
• ½ cup nut butter
• 1 cup cornmeal
• 1 cup oats
• ½ cup flour
• 1 cup birdseed
• 2 paper cups
• plastic mesh bag (repurposed garlic, onion or other produce bags work great)
The registration deadline for this free program is January 9. Families can register for this event at https://cornell.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwldeqspjsoHtWQXZO0UU2S3rQ8w9FENinm. For more information on this and other Monroe County 4-H events, please visit http://monroe.cce.cornell.edu/events.
The January Mighty Monday workshop will be a great lead-in to the New York State (NYS) 4-H Fly By series. This free online series, put on by Cornell University Youth Nature and Outdoor Education Program Work Team, will take place this winter in four sessions (Jan 20, Jan 27, Feb 3, Feb 10). Topics covered include bird identification, game birds and waterfowl, birds of prey, and citizen science projects. A bird identification guide will be provided to those that participate in all 4 sessions. The maximum number of guides given to a family will be one. 4-H Fly By will conclude right before the Great Backyard Bird Count, spring migration, and nesting season.
Families can register for the NYS 4-H Fly By series at https://pub.cce.cornell.edu/event_registration/main/events_landing.cfm?event=4HFlyBy_235.
The Monroe County 4-H Program is offered through Cornell Cooperative Extension to the youth of Monroe County. 4-H is a worldwide youth development program open to all youth ages 5 to 19, who want to have fun, learn new skills, and explore the world. In return, youth who participate in 4-H find a supportive environment and opportunities for hands-on or “experiential” learning about things that interest them.
Learn more at http://monroe.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development.
–CCE Monroe County