Avian Flu Outbreak

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Can I Feed the Birds Yet?

Avian Flu Update for September 2022 As of September 2022, the avian flu has yet to be found in songbirds. Our research from reputable source...

Tuesday, 23 January 2007


There are many types of feeders available. Any one or a variety of feeders will attract birds to your yard. Deciding on a feeder should be based on functionality, appearance, maintenance required, and the birds you have seen or would like to attract.

This feeder has an enclosed area to store seed and is dispensed by gravity. A hopper feeder will be visited by a good variety of birds including sparrows, finches, chickadees, jays and any other seed eating bird that can get to the seed. A quality hopper feeder will have a large roof overhang to keep the seed as dry as possible. This is Vancouver Island after all! Wet seed can be harmful to the birds so it is important to clean the feeder and remove wet seed regularly. You can fill a hopper feeder with a quality birdseed blend, or separate each type of seed with dividers to allow birds to choose their favorite seed with less waste.

This feeder is a flat open tray, it may or may not have a roof. All birds like to use a tray feeder, similar to those visiting the hopper type feeder. Tray feeders are great for viewing the birds at your feeder without obstacles interfering. A generous overhang will help to keep the seed dry and avoid waste. Some feeders will have a removable tray with drainage for easy cleaning, and others have a mesh floor to allow any moisture to drain and air to circulate through the seed. Any quality seed mix or separate types of seed will attract birds to your tray feeder. This feeder does require more frequent filling than others as it has less seed capacity than a hopper.

This type of feeder is an upright tube with perches down the sides. Tube feeders will attract perching birds such as finches, chickadees, nuthatches, and even woodpeckers. Generally all these birds prefer black oil sunflower seed rather that a mix. We recommend using only the black oil sunflower in these feeders as mixes containing millet will become wet and sticky, making cleaning difficult. Ground feeding birds who prefer millet will visit your tray and hopper feeders. To decrease the spill of the shells and unwanted seed on the ground beneath your feeder, hulled sunflower seed can be used if the feeder is somewhat sheltered from wetness. Finches and woodpeckers do prefer the hulled seeds or those in the shell.

This feeder is designed to hold suet cakes. They vary in design from a wire cage to wood or other ornamental designs. Suet can be purchased in a variety of types and flavors to attract the birds. Suet cakes can also be made at home. (Though it’s a little messier than opening a package) The birds attracted to a suet feeder are woodpeckers including flickers, as well as chickadees and nuthatches. A suet feeder is a great addition to your backyard feeding as it is low maintenance and minimum mess.

This feeder holds sugar mixture (nectar) to attract hummingbirds. Hummingbird feeders can be found in a large variety of shapes and sizes, plastic or glass, from simple to artistic. Red and fuchsia colours attract hummingbirds. A good feeder will be easy to open, clean and fill. It is important to empty and clean at least weekly as the birds will not visit a feeder with fermented nectar. The sugar nectar can be purchased in powder form, but is easily mixed at home using 1 part sugar to 3 or 4 parts boiled water. Do Not add red food colouring, it is not necessary and may harm the birds. Do not use honey or raw sugars. Nanaimo is special because the Anna’s hummingbird winters in a growing region of the city. In these areas near it is enjoyable to keep your feeder maintained through the winter.

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