This issue of BirdWire features news about the relationship between people and birds. Learn about millennial birders, people who feed birds, and more!
An e-newsletter brought to you by the publishers of Bird Watcher’s Digest and Watching Backyard Birds. Proudly sponored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics.
News in Birding: People and Birds

Dawn Hewitt and Jessica Melfi |  Editors, Bird Watcher's DigestBy Dawn Hewitt, Managing Editor | Bird Watcher's Digest
and Jessica Melfi, Assistant Editor | Bird Watcher's Digest

If there’s a theme to this issue of BirdWire, it’s the relationship between people and birds. We begin with new research into the minds of people who feed wild birds. A second story notes the increasing trend of millennials who have discovered that birds are cool. And finally, since early summer is peak gardening time, we’ve collected some new resources for landscaping for birds and pollinators—whether you live in a desert or a swamp, the Far North or the Deep South.

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Get our PDF guide Summer Warblers and Where to Find Them FREE when you subscribe to Bird Watcher’s Digest—or extend an existing subscription. This new digital guide features profiles on 33 of North America’s more widespread warbler species! Offer ends 6/7/19.
Researchers Study Impact of Bird Feeding on People
Researchers Study Impacts of Bird Feeding on People
While much research has been done on the impact on nature of people feeding birds, a recent study out of Virginia Tech focuses on the impact of bird feeding on people—particularly how those who feed birds respond to their backyard wildlife observations. A survey of more than 1,100 people who participate in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s annual Project FeederWatch program revealed that people not only notice natural changes in their yards, such as an increase in birds, predators, and sick birds, but that they also take action in response to their observations—for example, offering more food sources and shelter, scaring off cats, and cleaning out their feeders more frequently. A surprising finding was that people seem less concerned about time or money spent on feeding birds than on factors such as cold weather when determining how much to feed them. These results impact how programs like Project FeederWatch work with bird watchers, and ultimately is important for the future of wildlife conservation, which is increasingly becoming restricted to backyard environments.
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Millenials Ranks Growing Among Birders
Millennials Ranks Growing Among Birders
If your mental image of a bird watcher invokes Miss Jane Hathaway (from The Beverly Hillbillies), think again. In the past few years, National Audubon Society has seen an increase in members born between 1977 and 1997, reaching 12 percent in 2017, according to Chandler Lennon, media relations manager for the organization. Audubon has identified 9 million people between the ages of 18 and 35 who share an interest in birds and environmental activism, and it is likely that their ranks will continue to swell.

Millennial birders have a new celebrity in Jason Ward, age 32 and star of Birds of North America, an Internet series that debuted earlier this spring with 13 episodes. Watch it here. The show’s YouTube channel has 119,000 subscribers and counting.

Articles noting the growing interest in birding among millennials have been published recently in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, and in the New York Times.
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Resources for Planting and Gardening for Birds and Insects
Resources for Planting and Gardening for Birds and Insects
When we think of helping birds, tube feeders, sunflower seeds, hummingbird nectar, and bird baths might come to mind. But the most substantial help humans can provide for wild birds is natural habitat that safely feeds and shelters birds. Some trees and shrubs can provide sustenance for early emerging insect larvae, also known as baby food for songbirds. A clutch of chickadees can consume 9,000 insects between hatching and fledging, for example. But which plants provide the most help for birds in your region, taking into account the elevation, rainfall, and soil type? Trees Forever, an Iowa-based group, has produced a list of trees and shrubs native to the Midwest that benefit pollinators, available for download here.
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Reader Rendezvous
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Fall Migration Rendezvous: Hog and Monhegan Islands—Only 6 Spots Left!
There are few American landscapes as iconic or as bird-rich as the island-studded coast of Maine, especially during autumn migration. Monhegan Island is the perfect distillation of both natural beauty and the Maine coast’s remarkable tendency to concentrate migrants, sometimes in astounding numbers. Beloved Bird Watcher’s Digest columnist and long-time Hog Island instructor Scott Weidensaul will be present on this Rendezvous along with your trusty BWD staffers Dawn Hewitt, Emily Jones, and Raymond VanBuskirk.
Upcoming Festivals
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Podcasts
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Out There with the Birds #55: Big Events and Big News!
Expect big news in this episode of Out There with the Birds! Ben reflects on highlights from the New River Birding and Nature Festival in Fayetteville, West Virginia, an event that was near and dear to Bill Thompson, III. The area is the “Warbler Capital of the World” and one of the best hot spots on Earth for salamanders! Alvaro discusses the wonders of pelagic birding and provides preliminary results from the 2019 Global Big Day, a 24-hour event in which people around the world bird and report their sightings on eBird. Finally, changes are in store for Out There with the Birds: Ben introduces new co-host Raymond VanBuskirk, a birding superstar from New Mexico, an optics expert, co-owner of BRANT birding tours, and the new manager of Redstart Birding!
On Newsstands Now:
Watching Backyard Birds: June 2019
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If you love backyard birds, then you should be reading Watching Backyard Birds. It’s the ONLY North American magazine devoted exclusively to backyard birds and the people who watch and enjoy them. Created by the friendly staff at Bird Watcher’s Digest, every issue of Watching Backyard Birds is full of engaging, entertaining, and enlightening content and images.
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SPECIES PROFILE
The Best Way to See Chimney Swifts
Are chimney swifts on your backyard bird list? They are common in cities, towns and suburbs, but are often overlooked. WBB contributor W. Todd Parker recounts the opportunities in which he became acquainted with these delightful little birds.
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SPECIAL FEATURE
Nandina Berries Kill
Warning: All parts of this common landscaping plant are toxic to wildlife, pets, and livestock. Birds are especially susceptible to nandina poisoning because of the shrub’s beautiful and enticing red fruit.
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ASK BIRDSQUATCH
Strange Offerings for Birds: Popcorn and Pet Fur?
Our hairiest columnist answers reader questions about feeding birds popcorn, offering pet fur to nesting birds, and how to wean hummingbirds from a nectar feeder in anticipation of moving.
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