Our nature window is a continually evolving and changing thing. It started with a simple birdfeeder placed where we could see it from our kitchen table. Now we have a window full of bird guides, checklists, nature finds, jars of found bird feathers, nature journals, binoculars, magnifying glasses, and sometimes nature journals and colored pencils.
To begin your own nature window, take a few days and observe your household patterns. Where do you eat dinner? Is there a window available to look out while you are eating? What about your living room, is that where you gather most often? Once you have considered those things, choose your window. While a window is not necessary for setting up bird feeders, it will allow you to observe your feeder regardless of the weather. For our family, I wanted to choose a place that we often gathered; which meant somewhere near the kitchen table.
We started with a simple, double sided suet feeder. There are many recipes available for making your own suet feed, however for simplicity’s sake I prefer to buy them in bulk from our local retailers. The Audubon website has a recipe available for a vegetarian diy suet feed.
A hummingbird feeder is another wonderful way to observe wildlife from your window. There are a variety of window hung feeders; ours however is hung from a tree. While I buy other types of bird food, making hummingbird food is quite simple and it is actually far better for them if you make it yourself. A very basic formula to follow is 1 part sugar to 3 parts water. Bring your water to a boil, then remove from heat. Add in the white sugar, and mix until dissolved. Do not add any dyes to the water, they are not necessary and can actually be harmful to hummingbirds. Allow it to cool, then fill up your feeder.
One easy way to assure that your yard or nature space is set up well for wildlife is to visit the National Wildlife Federation website, and browse through their certification process. I certified our yard about two years ago, just prior to starting our nature window. It is a very easy but also very educational process that will help you look at your yard from an animals’ perspective, and how you can make a few simple changes that will positively impact the wildlife around you. The cost is minimal to certify and the includes a wonderful sign to acknowlege your work. To certify your yard would be an excellent family project as there is something for everyone. Spend a little time talking with some master gardeners in your area or find your local chapter of your native plant society. Both of the organizations are great resources for learning about what to plant. The best practice is to try to stick with native to your area plants, which will in turn help support the wildlife around you. Your yard will also need a source of water and places to build shelter, in addition to a food source. The National Wildlife Federation has provided a wonderful program in their wildlife habitat certification process. Our family learned so much through it and are continuing to reap the benefits daily, through our nature window observations.
Visit my Amazon Idea List link (in blue) for a curated selection of resources to get started on your own Nature Window.
Allow your window to morph into your own over time. Find what works for your family, find what types of nature excite you and your children. Then, place things in or outside of your window that will feed that passion. In a world dominated by screens, this family past time of observing the natural world through your own window will have a profoundly positive effect on relationships, learning, and even your own peace of mind.