A Bird in the Hand Really IS Better than Two in the Bush

A Bird in the Hand Really IS Better than Two in the Bush

By Arthur Northrop

         Reuben Carver loves birds. He just purchased seventy acres on Lanham Road that butts up to 4,500 acres of National Forest land to create a bird sanctuary. 

         Reuben explained that the land in North America on the East coast between the ocean and the foothills is called the Atlantic flyway. Birds use this path to migrate from Canada to South America. “Edgefield County is a good stopping point for them; they migrate at night and early mornings. If you have full feeders and water available, especially in the spring and the fall, you will see quite a variety of birds” said Reuben. 

Reuben stressed that Edgefield County is so rich in natural beauty and provides a great place for birds to stop during their migrations. He has observed a large number of birds this year that stayed the winter in our rural county.

         Mr. Carver explained that he and his wife Tami got into birding on their four acres across from the new Tavern Hill subdivision on Stephens Road. He has seen almost three dozen different types of birds in his yard this past year. “With the growth in the area, we decided to tuck tail and run deeper back into Edgefield County,” said Reuben explaining his new land purchase. 

         Reuben said people think you should not feed wild animals. He stressed that is not the case when it comes to birds. “Feeding birds is a great thing to do,” he said. He said it is super beneficial, especially for the female birds when they are getting ready to lay eggs. The nutrients they get does wonders for the birds’ metabolism and their ability to have a healthy clutch.

         Carver said his business slowed down when the pandemic hit and that is when he started his journey of hand feeding birds. “Hand feeding is a journey that’s not for everybody, because it is a testament to time, patience, and dedication,” noted Reuben. 

He said even if you are just looking at birds and figuring out their behaviors, it is so humbling if you are a spiritual person or not. He also said handfeeding birds took someone like him who is a cynical construction worker and broke his heart down in a good way. “I just want people to experience that.” 

Reuben explained that while feeding birds is a great thing to do, not all birdseed is the same. He said the big box stores sell bird feed that does not have as many proteins, fats, and nutrients the birds need. He shared that the website Wild Birds Unlimited (www.wbu.com) is a great resource for information about birdseed and you get suet recipes and even purchase feed on the site. 

Reuben said a seed called nygar from Africa drives goldfinches nuts. He said you can feel confident about birdseed not spreading invasive species of plants because of the government agency called the FDA. (Food and Drug Administration) The FDA ensures the seeds imported into the country can’t germinate.

Reuben admitted he and his wife have made some mistakes on their birding journey. He said he has learned a great deal from a friend in Canada who has a YouTube channel named Lesley the Bird Nerd. He said anyone who watches the videos on her channel will learn a great deal and get started down the right path.

Reuben and Tami are planning to place feeders and 40 bluebird boxes on their new land and to journal the number of clutches they have over a five year period. “I want to be able to share with others what they can do and the impact it will have,” he explained: “I just want people to know how rewarding feeding wild birds can be.” 

Reuben and Tami want to conduct a workshop to help anyone who wants to get started in creating habitat for birds. (A yard will do) Email me at arthur@edgefieldadvertiser.com.We will schedule a Saturday and let you know the details. Please include some contact information. By the way, the first ten people who sign up get a free bluebird box. 

This article is part of the Edgefield Advertiser’s continuing coverage of the unique, interesting, and talented people in our county. If you know someone we need to interview to share their passion, please email me.

Caption 1

Reuben Carver feeds a hummingbird. “It’s like a cotton ball landed on your hand,” explained Reuben Carver, bird whisperer.

Caption 2

The hand of Reuben Carver feeds several birds at one time.   

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