How to Become Friends With a Wild Bird

This essay, by Shannon Hong, 16, of New Hyde Park, N.Y., is one of the Top 11 winners of The Learning Network’s new “How To” Informational Writing Contest for Teenagers.

How to Become Friends With a Wild Bird

“I think the greatest gift a wild bird can give to you is friendship,” says Alexandra Rösch, author of the How to Befriend a Wild Bird series on her YouTube channel, Krari The Crow. Through many years of maintaining friendships with birds, Rösch has been able to find tranquility in the beauty of nature amidst the busyness of the world. Although it may seem like having a bird friend is something only Snow White can accomplish, developing a heartfelt connection with these feathered creatures is within your reach, whether outside your home or at a park.

“Familiarize yourself with the bird species you want to attract,” says Rösch. Although you can make friends with many types of birds, it’s easier to make friends once you lay the groundwork. Figure out what species you’re interested in and research its tastes. For example, while blue jays like to eat crushed peanuts, peanuts are too big for house sparrows, so if you want to attract house sparrows, try putting out bird seeds.

Once you’ve found a way to attract a bird species, let the birds come to you. Remember that most birds are not used to human interaction, so gentle persistence is key. Don’t act frustrated, as you may startle the bird. You can tell how a bird is feeling about you by the look of its feathers. “If a bird is relaxed, it will sit down and look all puffy,” says Rösch.

In the wild, birds recognize each other by their voice. If you want a bird to remember you, try talking to it. Some birds, such as crows, are even capable of facial recognition. Overall, if you spend enough time with the bird, it’ll be able to “recognize you regardless of what you wear,” says Rösch. Over time, a bird will be able to put its trust in you, just like people in human relationships.

You can tell if a bird sees you as a friend if it visits you frequently and comes close to you without fear. They will realize that you’re someone who is trying to help them.

Once you’ve built a friendship with a bird, you can continue to maintain this bond by spending time with your new avian companion. You just might notice how calming it is to just spend some quality time watching your bird friend. “It is a very beautiful experience,” says Rösch.