The start of a new year is the perfect time to rededicate yourself to enjoying birding as a fulfilling and worthwhile hobby. It’s also a time for resolutions and setting goals to accomplish in the next 12 months. Why not combine birding with your goals for the year?
This list of 12 birding New Year’s resolutions can help you go from a casual bird-watching novice to an experienced birding expert, with plenty of birdy fun along the way.
Follow Good Birding Ethics
Always watch birds in a safe way, both for them and for yourself. Protect birds’ habitats and enjoy the birds in a natural way that will ensure they are around for other birders to enjoy for generations. Do not trespass while birding, never risk a bird’s safety for the sake of a better view or nicer photo, and be safe in isolated areas or along unknown trails.
Increase Your Life List
Vow to add at least one new bird (or more!) to your life list every month. Don’t forget about migrating species, rare bird sightings, and unusual vagrant visitors. Consider visiting habitats you haven’t explored very much or try a new wildlife refuge or national park to see what new birds you might find in different places.
Offer Healthier Foods
Offer different types of birdseed, suet, mealworms, nuts, fruit, nectar, and other foods to discover which ones your birds prefer and choose options that provide the best nutrition. You’ll soon find that offering a higher quality and wider variety of foods will attract even more hungry birds to your feeders.
See also: 10 Best Foods for Bird Feeding
Clean Feeders and Baths Regularly
Resolve to clean birdfeeders and baths each time you fill them to help prevent mold and mildew. Cleanliness will limit the spread of diseases so your birds will be healthier and happier. Be sure to wipe down poles and perches, clean up debris on the ground under the feeders, and clean out houses after nesting birds have left.
Read Up About Birds
Subscribe to one of the many magazines or newsletters for birders so you can stay abreast of news in the birding world. Magazines also offer bird profiles, attracting tips, project ideas, and more to help you enjoy this rewarding hobby. Libraries often offer birding magazines, or you can read birding books and browse field guides as well.
Join a Birding Organization
Adding your name to the membership roles of a national, regional, or local birding organization will help promote bird conservation and wildlife awareness. Are you already a member of your local chapter? Consider other steps, such as adopting a wild bird or volunteering at events that will help conservation efforts.
Go Birding on Vacation
Birds can be found everywhere, and if you take the time for a quick bird-watching trip while on vacation, you will be amazed at the different types of birds you can find. If your time and budget permit, consider attending a birding festival or even taking a dedicated birding tour to a dream destination full of feathered wonder.
Add Water to Your Yard
Not all birds will visit feeders or eat the same seeds, but they all need water. Add a birdbath, mister, or dripper to your yard to attract birds, and consider a heated birdbath for colder climates so fresh, liquid water is available all year round. In warmer areas, a solar-powered birdbath fountain can be a great option that birds will love.
Offer Nesting Sites
Add a birdhouse to your yard if you don’t have one already or consider small changes to make your existing birdhouses safer and more attractive to birds, such as removing perches or adding ventilation and drainage holes. Don’t forget to offer a selection of nesting material as well, such as natural cotton fibers or grass clippings.
Be Proud of Your State Bird
Is your state bird on your life list? Learn more about the bird that represents your state so you know why it was chosen and can provide an attractive place for it to visit. You can also learn about national birds, bird mascots, and other symbolic birds and all the feathered fun they represent for communities, businesses, schools, and more.
Stop using pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals in your yard. Not only do these chemicals kill birds’ food sources—such as insects and weed seeds—but as the toxins build up, they can cause illnesses or fatalities in birds. Instead, focus on attracting even more birds that will provide natural pest and weed control for free.
Visit Everything Birds
Resolve to stay up on all the latest birding news, featured birds, feeding tips, and other bird-friendly information by visiting Everything Birds regularly. Register with the site, post in the forums, and connect on social media to make the New Year a very enjoyable one for birding!