Birds Add Life and Colour to the Winter Landscape
250News photographer has Chickadees at Cottonwood Island Park eating out of his hand – photo 250News archive
Feeding the birds is a great past time and is a good way to add life, colour and song to what can be a white, quiet landscape this time of the year.
We have been feeding the birds at home and really enjoy watching the many different types of birds that come to the feeders. Currently we are using 6 different feeders with different types of bird seed which is a good way to attract a wide array of different birds.
The Black Oil sunflower seed is a staple in the feeders and seem to be a popular choice for most of the birds that visit. The birds like the Black Oil sunflower seeds over the regular white striped sunflower seeds which have a harder shell to crack.
We place the sunflower seeds in a platform feeder that the birds can sit on as well as a hopper . The hopper feeder is filled with shelled sunflower seeds and mixed nuts which also seems to be enjoyed by many of the birds and is less messy as there are no sunflower shells.
The finches tend to favour the ‘Finch Feast’ bird seed which is a combination of sunflower seed bits and Nyger seed. Nyger seed is a small, lightweight, black seed and the sunflower bits are tiny also so this seed combination is placed in a tube feeder and a seed sock so that it doesn’t blow away. The other must have for the birds, is suet, which is placed in a suet holder.
Ideally, the feeders should be placed in a sheltered area, protected from the wind. If the feeders are near trees, the birds can sit in the trees and be out of the wind. You also want to make sure that predators such as cats, hawks etc., are not able to prey on the birds.
Squirrels can be an unwelcome guest as they also enjoy bird seed. There are feeders available, equipped with ‘squirrel busters’ to prevent the squirrels from getting to the bird seed.
To be able to watch the birds, you will want to place the feeders somewhere that they can be seen from indoors. Stay a good distance away from the house or other building so that the birds don’t collide into walls or windows.
To keep the birds healthy and coming back, clean the feeders regularly. Some feeders are easier to clean than others, which might be something to consider when purchasing a bird feeder. Also throw out any seed that is mouldy, wet or has gone bad.
It might take a little while to attract the birds to the feeders but once the birds have found the feeders make sure that you continue to fill the feeders as they will begin to depend on them.
Watching and feeding birds is a great past time. Take it one step further by purchasing a bird book to help identify the birds and keep your camera near by for some amazing photos!
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:
- Highway 16 West at Kimball Road
- Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road ( closed for the season)