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Bring unusual birds to your backyard

Birding has become one of the most popular pastimes. People travel thousands of miles to see rare and unusual birds in exotic habitats. These days, that isn’t as easy as it once was.

Our backyards offer opportunities to observe birds on a daily basis. It is always exciting when we see something new or unusual. How lucky we feel when seeing seasonal migrants passing through as they head south for the winter.

The sparrows, cardinals and blue jays keep us entertained, but sometimes we would like more diversity. During these crazy times, it would be nice to attract something different — to see something new.

Many of us feed the birds in the winter and provide nesting boxes in the summer, but there is so much more we can do to make our yards welcoming to many species. Birds require a food source, water and cover.

Nesting boxes don’t help if there is no food or water. Those migrant birds that so delight us are facing habitat loss in both their winter and summer territories. Our year-round birds are finding their habitat fragmented because of development and other changes in their natural habitat.

Backyards have great potential when it comes to helping birds. You don’t need a few acres. You can create a very welcoming habitat in a city yard or on a postage stamp lot. You can create an inviting environment for birds with plants, shrubs and trees.

We encourage you to join us for a Zoom presentation 6:30 p.m. Sept. 24 as we host Judy Semroc from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Judy has a fantastic program planned to share pictures, stories and more with all of you. She will give ideas on how to attract somewhat uncommon birds to our home habitat. This will include feeding, creating desirable nesting sites, important plantings, viewing set-ups and more.

Judy also will talk about the advantage of having a greater diversity of birds — their songs, striking colors, and ability to keep insect and mammal pests in check.

Some species that will be featured include owls, hawks, orioles, woodpeckers and many more.

For more information about the program and to register, go to go.osu.edu/unusual birds.

To learn more about birds in Ohio and which ones you will see, go to: http://go.osu.edu/ourohiobirds.

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