Blue here, red there, maybe even black and white. Songbirds brighten up backyards and woodlands in February. Their colors stand out against the browns, and if snow, the whites of winter. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer two free virtual programs to help people attract birds to feeders and to learn more about them.
Birds are interesting for color and motion alone. But when a creature weighing ounces can survive winter’s icy cold with a layer of feathers and live to produce young in spring, they become intriguing.
Speaking of blue, bright blue, MDC will offer a virtual program about the eastern bluebird and their place in Missouri’s ecology from 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11. Stephanie Kemp, MDC naturalist at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs, will look at the history of successful bluebird conservation efforts. Participants will learn how to attract bluebirds to their backyard. A hint, a correctly built and placed bluebird house helps.
This program is open to all ages. To register, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Za2.
MDC will present a virtual winter birding program from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Kristen Muelleman, naturalist at the Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City, will cover avian habitat, bird feeding, and gear that comes in handy when bird watching. The instructor will offer basic tips and tricks that help with identifying bird species. Participants will learn about birds commonly visiting feeders in western Missouri, and how to call them by name. What feed various bird species prefer will be discussed.
“I plan to discuss other resources to provide for birds in addition to food and feeders that will make your yard more enticing,” Muelleman said. “Specifically, how sources of fresh water or placing your feeder near good cover, and providing nest boxes, can create a well-rounded habitat to support a variety of birds year-round.”
This program is for participants age 10 and older. Registration is required. To register, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Za6.
For more information about identifying birds, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zhc.