Bird-watching & nature observation...in and around Washington County

Bird-watching & nature observation
...in and around Washington County

Bird watching is a popular hobby. Finding and identifying different bird species can be quite a challenge.
You can do backyard birding and attract birds to your yard by providing appropriate food, water, and habitats for wild birds, and limiting use of pesticides. Bushes and dense hedges protect birds from predators. You can also provide perches and gardens, which are homes for insects--great bird food.
Bird houses are fun to make and attract many nesting birds. Bluebirds, robins, wrens, chickadees, warblers, swallows, woodpeckers, martins, owls, and many other types of birds will nest in a bird house.
Seeds (especially sunflower and millet) and suet are high-energy bird foods. Children can make a simple bird feeder by attaching a short length of string to a pine cone, covering the pine cone with a suet, lard, or vegetable shortening mixture, and rolling it in seeds, and then suspending it from a tree branch.
Hummingbirds drink nectar, which you can make yourself. Mix 1 cup of hot water with 1/4 cup white sugar--do not use honey! Cool before using and replace the liquid often. Food coloring is not necessary; the hummingbirds will prefer a red nectar container, however.
Make sure that you dump the old nectar each week and thoroughly clean the feeder at the same time. In hot weather, replace the nectar and clean the feeder more often; some people recommend changing it daily.
Although this sugar diet seems non-nutritious, hummingbirds also eat insects and spiders, getting plenty of protein and other nutrients.
If you are looking to find a quiet place to visit with the intention of taking in the scenery and to do a little bird-watching, here's a few places in and around Washington County, Maryland to do just that...
Western Maryland
* Sideling Hill Exhibit Center 11100 Fort Frederick Rd., Big Pool, MD 21711; 301-842-2155
* South Mountain Recreation Area 21843 National Pike, Boonsboro, MD; 301-791-4767
Frederick County
* Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo 13019 Catoctin Furnace Rd., Thurmont, MD 21788; 301-271-3180/4922
Garrett County
* Deep Creek Lake State Park 898 State Park Rd., Swanton, MD 21561; 301-387-5563
* Herrington Manor/Swallow Falls State Park 222 Herrington Lane, Oakland, MD 21550, 301-334-9180
Wherever you go to bird watch and take in nature, be sure to make it memorable!