It’s for the birds

The Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC) wants you to know they’re for the birds.
That’s why APEC is encouraging Queens residents to take up bird feeding, and to purchase high-quality feeders and bird feed from them. They’re stocking “Naturalist’s Choice Bird Seed” and they want you to give it a try.
“Wintering birds need a steady source of food to survive,” said Linda Gocha, a spokesperson for APEC.
APEC is located at 228-06 Northern Boulevard in Douglaston, just east of the Cross Island Parkway. While the immediate area is a vast expanse of marshes, grassland and forested areas, much of Queens has been built upon and cemented over.
“With all the development in this area in recent years, there’s much less open space as habitat for birds,” Gocha said, adding “if the winter is harsh, especially if there’s a long-lasting snow cover, their food sources will become scarce.”
To the uninitiated, the selection is staggering - cracked corn, sunflower or Nyjer Thistle seed to name a few, in single-variety, five, 10 or 20 pound bags; mixed feeds in bags of 20 or 40 pounds. Bird lovers who favor them can purchase sweet cakes and suet cakes (plain or peanut).
Feeders range from soda-bottle craft types to impressive metal dispensers from Droll-Yankee and Duncraft. And don’t forget the “squirrel baffles,” the conical accessories to keep you-know-who from eating all the bird seed.
The center, which had been closed on Sundays during July and August, is back to being open every day, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Gocha and the staff hope people will drop in to order feeding supplies, all of which should be in stock before the end of October, or just to stop in and check out the displays and the animals they have there.
Those interested can also call APEC at 718-229-4000, and press “0” for the operator, to have a bird seed order form mailed to them.
Proceeds from the sales will support APEC in its mission to bring additional environmental education to the community, and provide education made fun for children

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