So Many Birds

Monday, January 15, 2018

Female Cardinal isn't intimidated by the Blue Jays
We get a lot of birds.

At the feeders in the winter and in the forest through the summer.

Somethings are the luck of the draw.  There's a large body of open water nearby.  And a variety of habitat close by -- dense softwood, a variety of tree species and sizes, some clearings, some excellent cover in some thickets.  And this year in particular, lots of food from seeds.

But there are some things we do that seem to attract birds ...

Different strokes for different folks

WINTER

They like company.  A screeching Blue Jay will instantly send the Finches for cover.  But there is a love/hate relationship between the different species.  And they like different types of food.

Our solution is to have multiple feeding spots with different feeder styles and different food.

Transition points  All birds are constantly on the lookout for predators.  Trees, small bushes and branches all provide a way for them to get from the safety of forest cover to the feeder.  Old Christmas Trees, branches from a wind storm, Golden Rod.  All help.

Hiding Spots.  When the call goes out that a predator is near, they need a safe spot.

We have a 'junk spot' close to the feeders that includes a collection of wild roses and old branches.

Two Robin babies - from eggs to fledglings in 28 days
SUMMER

Along with our year round birds, we get a large influx of migratory birds.  They are coming here to have their babies.  Nova Scotia is part of the great northern nursery.

Food is not an issue once things start to grow ... its about habitat.

Nesting birds are affected by loud sounds like chainsaws.  We avoid forest work during the nesting season.

Fields provide shelter and food.  We try to leave some sections until after the birds have nested.  And when we mow we give birds (and animals) an escape path.  Also, uncut strips at the field edge provide food.

We also mow strips in fields creating a spot for worm foragers like Robins.

Flight School -- pay attention 'cause we have a long journey ahead
And some solutions are crazy easy.  Barn Swallows were absent for 5 years so last year we opened up the top barn door and hosted a pair that had two clutches.  Two arrived, ten left.  That's a lot less blackflies and mosquitoes!

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