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Andy Uswa gazes at a group of bluebirds as they feed in his backyard – THESTATE.COM
COLUMBIA, S.C. — On these cold and sometimes dreary winter days, Andy Uswa gets some cheer when he looks out into his Forest Acres backyard and sees birds.
Lots of birds.
Birds of varying sizes and colors, stopping in to enjoy the oasis Uswa has created, full of bird feeders, water sources and mealworms.
The 83-year-old Army veteran’s interest in birds is fairly recent.
Andy Uswa laughs as he talks about the large amount of bluebirds that gather each day outside his Columbia home. THESTATE.COM
In fall 2013, he noticed six bluebirds perched in his trees. When winter arrived and the bluebirds were still around, he decided he probably ought to put out some extra food for them.
Other birds apparently got the word.
Today, Uswa has seen the number of birds in his yard increase to more than 80, with other varieties joining the bluebirds, among them goldfinches, red-winged blackbirds, robins and more.
Even though bluebirds are now the most plentiful species perched in Uswa’s trees, he said he enjoys attracting the shyer goldfinches.
A pair of bluebirds feed in the early morning hours outside Andy Uswa’s home. THESTATE.COM
Uswa said his three keys to attracting and keeping birds happy are water, bird feeders and worms. He said he spends hundreds of dollars a week to feed his feathered visitors, but added it’s worth it.
“I am extremely happy that I have so many,” Uswa said this week. “I am wondering how many birds I am going to have in the spring.”