Setting up your backyard to enjoy watching active and energetic birds visit and feed is a fulfilling hobby you can start any time. By providing just a few simple things, such as nutritious foods, clean water and ample shelter, the birds in your yard will quickly become a source of many hours of happiness and reward.
Bird feeding is a fun and educational hobby, with different birds appearing with the change of seasons. You can also help support songbird populations, whose numbers have been dropping in recent years. The community of Saanich is located along the ‘Pacific Flyway’ which brings many migrating birds each spring and fall, in addition to our feathered friends who live here year round.
While some authorities have recommended removing backyard feeders to help curb the spread of avian flu, songbirds aren’t typically affected, so Dudley suggests backyard birders can continue enjoying their feeders, providing they don’t also have domestic poultry, and continue keeping feeders and baths clean.
“We have a campaign called Save the Songbirds, which is about conservation and how people can set up their backyard to be a refuge for the birds and themselves,” says Thomas Dudley, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop. “We focus on seven elements which include: native plants, having cats indoors, watching the birds, reducing plastic, avoiding pesticide, making windows safer for birds, and drinking bird friendly coffee.”
To create a haven for all types of birds in your backyard, WBU has compiled a list of the 12 Elements of a Thoughtful Bird Feeding Station:
5. Nectar, jelly and fruit
6. Snacks/ specialty/convenience
7. Year-round water
Nearby Landing Areas
8. Perching branches
9.Vertical landing spots
10. Thoughtful feeder placement
11. Multiple bird feeding stations
Basic Critter Solutions
12. Station is Free of Squirrels, Chipmunks, Raccoons, Nuisance Birds and Cat Problems
Ready to bring “bird joy” to your backyard? Wild Birds Unlimited has the seed, feeders, nature gifts, and advice to help bring this wonderful hobby to you, your neighbours, friends and family. You can even create your own Thoughtful Bird Feeding Station, with their Advance Pole System, No-Mess Seed Blends, and the many types of bird feeders.
“One of the big things we want to promote is all-year bird feeding,” Dudley says. “Feeding the birds all year round is a great way to see all the seasonal migratory songbirds that come in the spring & summer, such as the Bohemian waxwing, grosbeak, American goldfinch, and the rufous humming bird to name a few. In the winter, we get a high population of Junco, woodpeckers, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Another important element is cleaning feeders and bird baths regularly – they should never get to a point where they’re growing mould.”
“Backyard birding helps bring nature closer to people, it helps them feel more balanced with the seasonal changes because they see them in real time. It helps reduce stress and bring more enjoyment to their lives.”