Nature Notes

Emily White, B.Sc.
2009-07-08

Responsible Bird Feeding

Hi, this is Emily from Featherfields.
Feeding wild birds can provide us with a deeply satisfying connection with nature. When proper feeding methods are followed, both humans and birds derive benefits from feeders. Unfortunately, bird feeders can sometimes be a source of disease for the birds visiting them. Here are some useful tips for a safe and healthy bird feeding experience.

Dislodge wet or compacted seeds from feeders each time you refill.

Rake often under feeders to remove accumulated shells.

Adding more bird feeders to your yard will help to prevent overcrowding which can lead to disease.

The key to reducing the spread of disease is to clean feeders frequently with a weak bleach solution.

Check out Featherfields for cleaning brushes and a wide variety of feeders with easy-clean designs.



Owling

Hi, this is Emily from Featherfields.

With their huge eyes and haunting calls, owls fascinate us like few other birds. Owl watching in our own backyards is not a far-fetched idea. Screech owls and Great Horned owls are remarkably adaptable and could be close by.

Winter is an ideal time to search. Great Horned owls may begin their courtship as early as January when their hooting calls resound through urban parks and farmyards. By February and March they are already incubating their eggs.

Daytime owl watching is dependant on clues such as whitewash on tree trunks and owl pellets below a roosting site. Crows and jays tend to mob around roosting owls, so listen for their scolding calls.

Featherfields carries many items to help in your search for owls. Screech owl nesting boxes, field guides, and binoculars will all increase the likelihood of an owl encounter.




Hawks

Hi, this is Emily from Featherfields.

Bird feeders over much of North America will eventually attract predators. When a hawk places your feeder on his daily rounds, enjoy it for what it is – the ultimate predator at the top of the food chain, specially adapted to capture other birds.

If you notice that birds at your feeders all seem frozen – it’s a sure sign that they’ve spotted a hawk soaring overhead. A wild flush of birds from your feeders probably means a Sharp-shinned hawk or Cooper’s hawk is blasting through your yard.

Evergreens and shrubs are critical cover for songbirds…. and at Featherfields, we carry some feeders enclosed in cages which provide a safe haven for smaller birds.

Remember, hawks are also stressed in winter and the impact of their predation on songbirds is inconsequential compared to the effects of things like house sparrows, starlings and habitat loss.



Weighty Matters

Hi, this is Emily from Featherfields.

When people shop for a melon or a head of lettuce, they usually pick it up first and test its weight before buying. This common practice extends to your backyard birdfeeder. Both black-capped chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches weigh their seeds before making a choice. Researchers have found that both species of birds showed a strong tendency to discard empty or lighter seeds in favour of larger, heavier seeds.

Featherfields stocks only seed that is mature and heavy with kernel inside. Some seed companies use seed that has been harvested early and is not fully mature. Why pay for a mix that is made up mostly of shells?

Our two exclusive seed blends, Featherfields’ Feast and Chickadee Picnic, are both deluxe mixes perfect for attracting all of your favourite backyard birds.



Window Strikes


Hi, this is Emily from Featherfields.

Millions of birds die every year as a result of an impact with glass windows, doors, and buildings. Birds see the reflection of trees and sky in your window and may fly toward it at full speed. Here are some tips for preventing window strikes.

Surprisingly, moving your feeders closer to the windows may help because birds startled off the feeder won’t build up enough speed to hurt themselves.

Window- mounted bird feeders can also be a good idea. Birds will see the window as a destination instead of as a fly-thru.

At Featherfields, we carry several products to help reduce window strikes. The latest and greatest is the new Window Alert. This leaf-shaped static-cling decal contains a component that reflects ultraviolet sunlight. This ultraviolet light is invisible to humans but glows brilliantly for birds, thus reducing the chance of collisions with the glass. Stop in to Featherfields for expert advice today.

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