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Backyard Dispatches

It’s time to think about cleaning up the garden for fall. While doing this you can create a good haven for birds to help them through the fall and winter months. After raking the leaves, place some in piles under shrubs or bushes for our foraging birds who are looking for bugs. After cleaning up fallen branches, assemble a small brush piles in the corners of your yard for birds to take shelter from inclement weather and predators. Leaving flowers with seed heads is also good for the birds, they can be cut back in the spring.

This is also the time to take the feeders in for a good cleaning. You can use 1 part bleach to 9 parts hot water, or a mixture of vinegar and water. Always rinse very well and allow to air dry outside. Bird houses also need to be cleaned out to allow birds…

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Backyard Dispatches

Days are getting shorter, shadows are getting longer and evening temperatures are cooling. All signs of the approaching season of fall. The birds are also noticing these changes as they prepare for the journey back to their wintering grounds. Natural food sources will also become less readily available which affects the migration schedule. Fall migration can begin as early as June for birds in the far north, but generally begins in Ontario during late August through mid November.

Photo Credits – Annie Spratt

Spring and fall migration are quite different for the birds. In the spring birds are on a strict schedule to get to their breeding grounds, mark territories, molt into their bright plumage, attract a mate, sing their best songs and raise a family. Lots of work. Fall is a little more laid back. If they find a place with an abundant food supply, they can stay for…

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Backyard Dispatches

This is a question many customers ask me during the dog days of summer. The spring and early summer is filled with beautiful bird song and bird activity, from migration, to nest building, tending to nestlings and introducing them to the world. Now it’s time for the next phase, molting. Many of our birds need to complete their molt before migrating to their wintering grounds. This includes one of everyone’s favorite, the orioles.

Molting means replacing old feathers with new ones. During the year feathers can be damaged causing them to weaken, and can also be discolored from the sun. Feathers cannot heal themselves so they need to be replaced with new ones. Old feathers will fall out gradually as the new ones grow in. This can be a stressful time for birds, so this time of year is favorable for molting when the weather is warm and the bugs…

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Backyard Dispatches

Now that the weather has turned warmer, I was able to sit outside and spend a day observing the different bird behaviors and activity at the feeders. As nice as it was, pollen was raining down turning my note paper yellow.

The day starts very early with the Robin singing his wake up call at 4:50 am. It is better than an alarm clock I suppose. The Robins song is followed by the Cardinals’ who perch on top of pine trees providing a surround sound effect. Activity on the ‘Deck of Birds’ begins between 6:30 and 7:00 and continues all morning. Time to clean the birdbaths and refill with fresh water.

Oriole feeders need to be filled every morning with grape jelly. It appears to be the breakfast of champions as they chatter at each other sometimes knocking each other off the feeders… there are three grape jelly feeders, but…

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Jane’s Deck – Busy Days At The BirdBath

Backyard Dispatches

‘Every Body into the Pool!’ I feel that this is what the birds are communicating to each other lately. I have two bird baths on the go and they need to be refreshed two or three times a day.

The sparrows all get along in the bath, once one jumps in the rest follow. I’ve witnessed eight of them splashing and bathing at the same time. Some of the other birds prefer a private bath. The Red-winged Blackbird is one of these. Both the male and female will chase other birds out of the bird bath if it’s their turn. The Robin is another solitary bather. A major bath by this fellow requires the bath to be filled… again.

I have chosen to have the bird baths at different levels, one on the ground and the other on a pedestal. In the ground bath I have added a solar fountain/bubbler…

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