There are many things out there that make the world a better place. Kind words, thoughtful gestures, and volunteers in the community are amongst the things that make the world just a little bit nicer. Maybe volunteers are on my mind because of Audubon's recent Annual Dinner, where we honored volunteers for the amazing job they do to keep things running. Perhaps it was the program at the Warren Garden Club, where dozens of women work hard to keep the city I live in attractive.
Regardless, there are many things you can do to make the world nicer. One of those things is by decorating your yard with birds. Birds transform a yard into a living tapestry of ever changing colors, shapes and sizes. A simple birdfeeder or two can be all you need to transform your yard.
Now is the time to start thinking about it for winter. Birds are moving into the area and scouting out all the amazing places to find food for the first couple weeks of October. If your feeder goes up after that, the birds may not notice it. They have amazing memories of where the food is and where to visit, much like toddlers. Once the birds know where the good food is for the upcoming winter, they will make that a regular stop on their rounds throughout the coldest season.
Blue Jays are one of the most common visitors to birdfeeders. Set food out by mid-October for jays and other birds to learn where it is before the cold winter months.
This Downy Woodpecker is visiting a suet feeder. Photo by Terry LeBaron.
Look for hardworking Audubon volunteers picking up garbage along Route 62 on Oct. 5. Call Audubon if you would like to be one of them!
That is one of the reasons that Audubon holds a bird seed sale every year at this time. Each year, people in the community pre-order birdseed from Audubon by September 30. Many people order enough seed to get them through the entire winter. Oct.12 is birdseed pickup day.
Tons of birdseed will be sitting here at Audubon that day to be picked up. Literally. Volunteers will be on hand to load the birdseed into your car, sometimes filling the trunk with sunflower, suet and thistle seeds.
One of my favorite things is a special birdseed called Conewango Blend. This mix was designed by local birders to attract a variety of birds without leaving a layer of those little brown seeds on the ground at the end of winter. This special blend is chock full of the black oil sunflower seeds that many birds love, as well as corn millet, safflower and other seeds to attract all sorts of local and interesting birds.
The deadline for the sale is soon, but orders can be placed at www.jamestownaudubon.org, or by calling Audubon at (716) 569-2345. The order form is on the website.
I am fortunate to have many neighbors that feed the birds. The birds truly liven up the view outside during the cold winter months.
Another great beautification project coming up is our twice annual Roadside Clean-up. You may have noticed the signs along the side of Route 62 that a stretch of the road has been "adopted" by Audubon. Twice a year, dedicated volunteers go along the side of the road and pick up amazing amounts of garbage from beside the highway.
More laughing, cheerful faces are always needed to help with our Roadside cleanup. The fall cleanup will happen on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Call Audubon at (716) 569-2345 and ask for Katie to volunteer.
If you happen to be driving along Route 62 on October 5 and see a bunch of people picking up garbage along the road and making the world a slightly cleaner, better and more beautiful place, beep and wave to show you appreciate the hard work our volunteers are doing.
The Audubon Center and Sanctuary is located at 1600 Riverside Road, Jamestown NY. Trails are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to avoid peak mosquito activity. The Center is open from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily except Sunday when they open at 1 p.m. In addition to clean-up and birdseed sales, Audubon does many great programs that you can learn about at www.jamestownaudubon.org.
Jeff Tome is senior naturalist at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary.