Thursday, May 24, 2012

Warm Months Birding

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Spring is in full swing and most of the birds have returned to enjoy their Spring and Summer in New Brunswick. Some people choose to bring in their feeders at this time as seeds and insects are plentiful this time of year.  Others, such as myself, feed all year round.  The birds will still enjoy visiting your feeder though not as often. I enjoy seeing the new birds that have returned from their Winter vacations and I get the odd "just passing through" visitor. It is also exciting to watch the new fledgelings learn to fly and taking their first trips to the feeders. The birds will not become lazy if you give them some seeds contrary to the old wives' tale. They normally get only 15-20% of the daily requirements from feeders.  There are some things to keep in mind if you choose to keep feeding~

  • Do not use suet and peanut butter. It is too warm for this type of food and it will go rancid quickly. Also the amount of oil from the products could cause injury to the young chicks if the parents bring it to the nest on their feathers. 
  • No peanuts during the first part of the season.  The pieces are too large and young birds just starting out could choke.  You'd be safe offering some closer towards Fall. 
  • Limit the amount of leftovers that you put out. Things will start too mould quickly in warm weather and could be deadly for birds. We feed a pair of crows who come get our crusts each morning and that's all I put out and they come to get it as soon as I put it out as they are waiting in a big tree for me.  You also want to birds to concentrate on seeds and fruit which are more nutritious. 

Northern Flicker

Spring and Summer Bird Feeding Links

 Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker

A couple of others ways to help out the birds this time of year is to provide adequate nesting materials and to provide a nice water feature such as a bird bath. The following links are filled with great ideas and information.

Nesting Material

(you can also stuff materials into your suet feeders)

Bird Baths

This time of year is the only time the Hummingbirds are here and setting up a feeder for them is a wonderful way to enjoy them close up. There are a variety of feeders out there and you just need to fill them with a simple sugar solution (1cup sugar to 4 cups water). I make a big batch of the syrup and it keeps in the fridge for a few weeks. I let it warm up a little before filling the feeders.  The main thing to keep in mind with these feeders are that you need to keep them very clean as mould can grow in the feeder and the birds will refuse to use a dirty feeder. Also ants can be a nuisance as they enjoy a sugary treat! I use an Ant Moat that I purchased at Lee Valley in Halifax a few years ago.  Since then I have spotted similar items here at Macarthur's Nursery and I recently saw one at the Dollarstore. If you are feeling crafty you can build one yourself.  Here is a diagram of a possible moat or you can make one out of an old cap.


To learn more about hummingbirds, how to feed them and what attracts them to your yard please check out the following links.

You can also attract more birds to your yard by planting shrubs and flowers they love. To find out more about making your yard and garden a feathered haven follow these links.

Happy Birding!!


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