Photo of Shannon Ferguson by Bonnie Manning, Feature Photographer Photos of Hummingbird, Cardinal and Nuthatch by Jen Moser
Jen Moser, a Fort Wayne resident, says she has been a serious bird watcher for three or four years now.
“My grandfather was a lover of all animals including birds,” said Moser. “I can remember visiting my grandparent’s house and him having bird books and binoculars sitting around. Once married, both my husband and I gained a love and appreciation for birds and started bird watching together. Also, as a professional photographer, it was easy to marry the hobby of bird watching and my love of photography.”
She’s a backyard bird watcher. “It is amazing the variety of birds one can attract! On a daily basis our feeders feed: bluebirds, cardinals, nuthatches, blue jays, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, goldfinches and more.”
It doesn’t take much to start the hobby: “For backyard birding you really don’t need any special equipment to enjoy the birds. You do need patience though. Watching and listening patiently for them is key. It is helpful, if out at a local park, to invest in a pair of binoculars and a nice birding book like “Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America”, but (they are) not required.” Shannon Ferguson and her family enjoy bird watching from their home near the Maumee River. The neatest bird they’ve seen was a bald eagle. “So long as we sit still, they will come,” she says. “I don’t believe it takes more than a welcoming home to enjoy the birds.”
Jen Moser, a local bird watcher and professional photographer, even turned her vacation into a bird experience at The Biggest Week in American Birding, a 10-day festival that takes place in Ohio during the month of May. “For backyard birding, you really don’t need any special equipment to enjoy the birds. You do need patience though. Watching and listening patiently for them is key.”
Since she has become a birder, she has learned what sort of food different birds like. “For example, goldfinches really love safflower or nyjer seed, while woodpeckers enjoy in-shell peanuts (unsalted).” She highly recommends the Fort Wayne Wild Birds Unlimited store as “a great resource for feeders, seed and knowledge.”
This past May, she and her husband, Joel, even turned their vacation into a bird educating experience at The Biggest Week in American Birding, a 10-day festival that takes place in Ohio during the month of May to take advantage of the migration of song birds every year at this time. There are great benefits to bird watching, in her opinion: “In this fast-paced world we currently live in, bird watching is such a great way to unwind and take pleasure in our beautiful world. It also is a great hobby to share and enjoy with a friend or loved one. My husband and I have had some great conversations and made some great memories while bird watching! What a wonderful hobby that you can do alone or with others and it is essentially free!”
Shannon Ferguson of Fort Wayne says she has been a “birdie” for years. It’s in her family: her mother and her aunt are also bird watchers.
She feeds birds natural foods such as sunflowers, cannas, and other food flowers to give them things they want and need. This affects the sort of birds she attracts.
Bird watching is enjoyable to her from both inside and outside of the house. “So long as we sit still, they will come,” she says. “I don’t believe it takes more than a welcoming home to enjoy the birds. If I had more ‘natural’ food I’m sure we would have more birds (sunflower for goldfinches, cannas for the hummingbirds),” but she enjoys the birds she does attract. “If you want the birds you will take the time (to feed them).
She credits where her house is situated with the pleasing amount of birds she attracts: “We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood with mature trees near a golf course, near the Maumee River. We are blessed with natural attractions!”
Among her favorite bird sightings? “Most amazing, is to have seen a bald eagle, on two occasions, set off in the early morning hours take flight from just behind my fence. I’m sure I fouled (pun intended) feeding time. But what an amazing sight to see them take off near my back yard! I’ve also seen a bald eagle near Memorial Park. Wow!”