Welcoming back our feathered friends

Welcoming backSpring is a busy time, not only for getting that much-needed spring cleaning done but also to prepare for the return of our feathered friends from their long migration. These birds have traveled far – some up to thousands of kilometers – and so what better way to greet them than by doing some preparation work that will make their return smooth.

One of the most important things to know is when different species of birds return to your area. The best way to keep track of this is to write it on your calendar or keep a diary. You can also contact your local ornithology group or consult with us to see what species have already returned.

With many birds on the move in the spring, you can prevent accidental window collisions by placing feeders either within 3m of the window or 10m away. Clear ultraviolet decals also work well. Birds can see ultraviolet light even though we cannot, which makes using these decals more effective than hanging pie plates or ribbons on the window.

Welcome birds back to a safe, clean feast. Inspect your birdbath and feeders to make sure they are in good working condition and then give them a thorough cleaning and rinsing. Once they are thoroughly cleaned and dried, fill them up with food such as seeds, fruits and insects.

As spring-time can be unpredictably cold or wet, insects can be hard to find. Insectivorous birds such as Purple Martins can easily starve to death when there are a few days of rain that cause insect numbers to decline. Insects are also a great source of protein for birds to eat after a long migration. Dried mealworms are great for feeders and don’t make a mess. They can be purchased at Le Nichoir from our La Plume Verte shop (along with UV window decals)!

In preparation for the arrival of breeding birds, empty and clean your bird houses out. Remove old nests and clean the inside with a diluted solution, then dry it out completely before placing it back up. Make sure the house is safely attached to a tree or post, away from predators, and that there are no sharp edges or places where birds can get caught. To give them an extra hand, consider placing nesting materials out for the birds to choose from. It is very important to not leave string, human hair or anything else in which baby birds can get entangled. Good nesting materials include short cat/dog hair, twigs, leaves, grass, straw, snake skin and old spider webs.