National Bird Feeding Month In Missouri

The Eastern Bluebird can be found throughout Missouri year around.

Finding activities to do during the COVID-19 pandemic can be even harder when winter weather tries to keep you inside.

February is National Bird Feeding Month, offering a family-friendly activity and plenty of social distancing.

“This time of year, birdseed will work for most birds, however, not for our state Eastern bluebird,” said Stephanie Kemp, Burr Oak Woods naturalist in Blue Springs. “They like to feed on berries and insects.”

The Eastern bluebird is normally seven inches long with a short, small bill. Males usually appear brighter than females, while females give off a greyish blue appearance.

“So once the what I call the growing season, (when) temperatures warm up and plants start growing, make sure that people plant native plants that offer those types of berries,” Kemp said. “A little trick that some people do is put out a dish with mealworms.”

Bluebirds prefer scattered trees, farms and backyards in rural areas. Populations have declined in past years, but conservation efforts have improved numbers.

“There are lots of plans for birdhouses online, but there is one plan I like to use more than others,” Kemp said. “It takes a single piece of board and you cut it into specific sections and then assemble it.”

The Missouri Department of Conservation will present a virtual winter birding program Wednesday, Feb. 17, that will cover avian habitat, bird feeding and gear that comes in handy while bird watching. Participants must be 10 and older and can register at short.mdc.mo.gov/Za6.

“As far our birds in Missouri, I think the biggest mistake that people make is buying the mixed bird seed at any discount stores,” Kemp said. “Those bags have red millets and birds around here won’t eat that since it’s used as a filler.