National Bird Feeding Month: Sales soar, as do views on Western Pa. feeder cams

It’s not simply that February is Nationwide Chicken Feeding Month. Each month for the reason that starting of the pandemic final 12 months has appeared like a chicken feeding month.

Gross sales of feeders, seed and most something to do with birds have skyrocketed as folks have flocked to the avian world — a secure, colourful and attention-grabbing haven throughout the generally glum and lonely days of the pandemic.

On the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania headquarters in Fox Chapel and its retailer at its Succop Nature Park in Butler, gross sales of feeders and seed have skyrocketed 200% since early final 12 months.

“Covid has been turning them on to watching birds of their yard,” mentioned Brian Shema, operations supervisor for the native Audubon Society. The nonprofit has been promoting dozens of feeders. The highest vendor is a squirrel-proof feeder.

In the meantime, at Wild Chicken Plus in Unity, they not solely ran out of oriole feeders in the summertime, their provider ran out as effectively.

“Folks couldn’t go to motion pictures, and it has introduced them again to nature,” mentioned Beth Ludvik, proprietor of Wild Chicken Plus. Hopper-style and tube feeders have been widespread all through, she mentioned.

“Feeding birds is so calming and comforting,” she mentioned. “When you begin, it’s an obsession, and you may’t cease.”

You don’t even should have a chicken feeder to be hooked on watching them.

Viewership has elevated tenfold previously 12 months for 2 reside streaming webcams educated on two feeding stations in Murrysville. PixCams launched its feeder webcams final 12 months, and viewership now rivals PixCam’s hottest reside feed — the Pittsburgh Hays bald eagle webcam.

“A feeder webcam is a pleasant visible factor to observe,” mentioned Invoice Powers, proprietor of PixCams. “It’s got quite a lot of shade and motion. It’s dynamic, and you may’t predict what birds are coming in.”

Some folks watching the feeder cam purchase their very own feeders after which soar into the webcam’s chat room making an attempt to select up tricks to appeal to some “good birds,” Powers mentioned.

At present, the Murrysville feeder is internet hosting the Jap bluebird, pileated woodpecker, pine siskin, purple finch, red-breasted nuthatch and extra.

New prospects are driving Audubon’s gross sales, Shema mentioned.

Persons are exhibiting up with questions on what number of feeder to make use of — there are dozens of fashions. They make their buy and purchase the Audubon’s propriety chicken meals combine, Beechwood Mix, formulated for birds within the area.

One of many hallmarks of a particular native combine is that there will likely be no seed left behind on the bottom. Unfastened seed under the feeder can appeal to rodents in some habitats, particularly metropolis and river environs.

So many birds, so many meals decisions.

Powers has mentioned it’s the meal worms that appeal to a flock of Jap bluebirds to his feeder cams in Murrysville.

Shema supplied the next chicken feeder ideas:

• Chicken feeders must be inside 3 toes or better than 25 toes of a window to scale back chicken window strikes.

• Right here’s a difficult tip: “A feeder needs to be far sufficient {that a} squirrel can’t soar on it however shut sufficient for a chicken to dive into when a predator reveals up,” Shema mentioned. A long way is often 8 to 10 toes between a feeder and shrubbery or a tree.

• Clear feeders each two weeks with diluted vinegar. Salmonella poisoning and the unfold of a watch illness affecting finches can kill the birds visiting a feeder.

February was designated as a month to acknowledge chicken feeding not solely as a result of it’s enjoyable, however as a result of it helps birds survive the tough winter climate in February when wild meals will be scarce or coated by snow.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Overview workers author. You may contact Mary at 724-226-4691, or through Twitter .

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