Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Frugal Backyard Birding

My children are little scientists, a trait they get from their father.  And a trait I want to encourage.  One way is to support their enjoyment of birds.  Living in Madison, Wisconsin, a block from a huge wooded park means we don't have to do much to attract feathered friends.  Cardinals, wrens, hawks, and blue jays are regular visitors.  But backyard birding can break the bank quickly if you don't approach it with a frugal filter.

Case in point -- we wanted a platform feeder to put out egg shells and peanuts.  I called a bird store and sure enough they sold them, ranging from $40 - $100+!  There is no way I'm paying that kind of money to feed birds.  So we got creative.

An old feeder and pole that came with our home was our focus.  We replaced the wire and moved it next to our other feeders.  Eggs from weekend meals were baked in the oven at 275 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Smashed up, they were added to the feeder.  From our reading we've learned that birds benefit from the calcium in shells to replenish after raising their young.  Who knew!

The ultimate frugal use of eggs:

  • scramble them for lunch;
  • bake the shells for the birds; and
  • tear up paper cartons for your compost bin.
Hopefully images of birds will be forthcoming.  We are in waiting mode for them to find the shells!

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