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Flight or Fight: The Challenges Facing Birds in Spring

A male Northern Cardinal faces his reflection in a car's side mirror.

  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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Evening Grosbeak & Purple Finch irruption 2022

A Spruce Budworm outbreak in northern areas meant a lot of food for Evening Grosbeaks and Purple Finches this year. That, coupled with a smaller mast (seed and nut) crop, means there are more individuals of these species than there is food to support them, so many will move father south than usual this winter […]

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Snowbirds – we get it!

Fall migration is underway. Like many Canadians, a lot of bird species prefer to spend their winters in warmer climes, often for the simple reason that food is more abundant there than it is here. Migration is risky business, though, and the move to the food is replete with challenges. First of all, it takes […]

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