The Avant-Garden Shop: Your Garden & Bird Store

Attracting Hummingbirds and Orioles

  Sweets for the Sweet In May, we begin to see the arrival of hummingbirds, orioles and warblers. The beautiful but elusive warblers are generally happy within the safe cover of trees to provide a healthy diet of insects, but hummingbirds and orioles will come to gardens and feeders if we provide what they love … Read more

GARDEN GATE: Episode 290 – Keeping out the squirrels! (April 12, 2024)

In the last episode Brenda talked about keeping grackles and starlings away from feeders. This week is about keeping the squirrels off. The Brome Squirrel Buster feeders are really the best option. These are triggered to close with the weight of a squirrel. Another great option is to put a baffle on your pole. These … Read more

Flight or Fight: The Challenges Facing Birds in Spring

  The Problem with the Flight As our migratory birds return to spring habitats, it’s a wonderful time to watch behaviours specific to this time of year. Many species migrate in large flocks, but once they arrive, their mating displays and territorial behaviours kick in. They chase or are chased by other birds over mates … Read more

What do trail mix and feeding birds have in common?

Imagine a bowl of trail mix in front of you. Assuming no nut allergies, you may be faced with peanuts, cashews, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, and M&Ms. Many people “high-grade,” sifting through and picking out favourites and leaving the rest behind. I know I end up eating a lot of peanuts and sunflower seeds if … Read more

Helping birds with the challenges of migration

The birds continue their southward movement for the winter. Some have already finished, others are passing through, and still others are yet to come. Migration’s a tough slog filled with risks, including window strikes, cats, and starvation. Window strikes are a bigger issue with high-rise office and apartment buildings. Most passerines migrate at night, using … Read more

Oh, the birds! The birds’ fall movements have begun

Fall means lots of birds passing through our area as they leave their warm, food-rich northern breeding areas to spend their winters in warm, food-rich, southern climes. These movements have begun. I’ve written blog posts the past two Septembers about migration and how you can support birds as they make these incredibly exhausting and dangerous … Read more

Garden Tips: Avian Influenza (a.k.a. Bird Flu or H5N1)

Well, Avian Influenza is back in the news. Here, I try to provide some insight that might help answer the question… “Should I keep feeding birds or shut down my feeder?” The quick takeaway? It seems to be ok to keep your feeders running as long as you: aren’t on or near a farm with … Read more

Garden Tips: Woodpeckers and other cavity nesters

Our year-round resident cavity nesters are getting busy with courtship and breeding behaviours, well ahead of the migrants, most of whom start returning from their southern breeding grounds in late-April. Behaviours to watch and listen for include calling/singing (nuthatches & chickadees), drumming (woodpeckers), ritualized displays (keep an eye open for dance-like movements between birds), and … Read more

GARDEN GATE: Episode 260 – Choosing the best birdhouse and when to put them out (Feb 24, 2023)

Getting your bird houses up early, preferably in March, gives time for the houses to slightly weather and be ready for the birds’ return. If you get them up too late they may have already found a suitable nesting place. We carry lots of bird houses, some more decorative than practical. Some birds prefer a … Read more

Garden Tips: Attracting birds to your yard in the winter

People often ask why they don’t have many backyard birds in the winter. Here, we explore some of the many reasons why this might be. Birds need food, water, and suitable habitat year-round. The more of these available in your yard, and the better quality they are, the more likely you are to attract more … Read more

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