Bagels and Backyard Birding


The weather has been irregular lately but we’re all feeling it – spring is in sight!  And Spring brings the bird migration. As a coastal community neighboring Jamaica Bay and it’s surrounding marshy inlets, we have a unique opportunity to spy migratory birds without going far.  Throughout the year, over 300 bird species are sighted in and around our area. I’m definitely visiting the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in the upcoming weeks in hopes of spotting rare migratory birds. But we can also find beautiful bird travelers making a stop right in our backyard. Keep an eye out for the American Woodcock performing his courting dance or the brightly colored Warblers passing through. Listen for the chirping Gray Catbird or the Red-winged Blackbird, they may be resting right outside your window.

The American Woodcock is plump with short legs and a long bill. The birds underside is cinnamon in color and the remainder of their plumage is shades of brown and black. Males perform an exceptional mating dance in the sky on spring nights. They twist in flight while singing their intricate song. Spring migration for the American Woodcock starts early so look out for them now.

Warblers are small birds with bright yellow and/or orange colored feathers mixed with black. Often they have a striped black pattern on their breast. Look for them in lower bushes and brush by moist ground. The Canadian, Yellow-rumped and Pine Warblers will arrive in New York during the first two weeks of May to start breeding.

I’ve seen several Gray Catbirds in my own backyard in past years. Catbirds are related to mockingbirds, similarly having a large musical repertoire. The birds mimic sounds from other species and their environment, stringing them together to create a unique song. As their name suggests, Gray Catbirds are moslty gray and often sound like a cat meowing!

Birds migrate for many reasons: seasonal weather, nesting, and for food abundance. The birds I mentioned above are worm, insect and berry-eaters. Keep a garden of rich soil to attract these birds and plant a Serviceberry tree or native Juniper tree in your yard to attract them.

For the seed loving birds like Jays, Woodpeckers and Chickadees, hang a birdfeeder. This DIY birdfeeder is made from a bagel and peanut butter! It’s a fun craft for kids and adults alike!

What you’ll need:

1 plain bagel
Rope or twine
Peanut butter*
Bird seed
Knife, scissors and a plate


Cut the bagel in half
Place about 1 cup of bird seed on a plate
Tie rope through the hole and around the bagel leaving some length for hanging
Cover the bagel completely with peanut butter
Place the bagel on the dish and cover/press the bird seed on. Continue until both sides of the bagel half is covered.
For two bagel bird feeders, repeat the process with the second bagel half.
Secure the feeder in a tree at least 5 feet above the ground.

 * My goodness, I forgot how good peanut butter is.


tagged in garden bagel, nature