Avian Flu Outbreak

Avian Flu Outbreak

There has been a lot of concern surrounding the recent avian flu outbreak with people wondering if it is safe to continue feeding their backyard birds.

Click here to start or visit Bird Studies Canada and Environment & Natural Resources Canada to keep up to date.

Thursday, 12 May 2022


The Backyard Wildbird and Nature Store

Nanaimo Bird Report

May 12, 2022

To report your sightings phone the Store at 250-390-3669 or e-mail us at thebackyard@shaw.ca. Please remember, when reporting a sighting to leave your name and phone number along with the date the species was seen and location of your sighting.

Yellow Warbler (J. Morrison)

Wednesday May 11, 2022

Black-headed Grosbeak has returned to the backyard feeders on Meridian Way in Parksville.

Tuesday May 10, 2022:

The Tuesday Bird Walk went to the Little Qualicum Fish Hatchery. The weather was sunny, then clouded over near the end of the walk and 10 degrees. A few of the highlights from the walk were American Dipper seen down river from the parking lot on the end of a log, along with a Spotted Sandpiper and Common Merganser. A Warbling Vireo was heard as we began down the road and Vaux Swift was seen above with the swallows. Seven species of warblers were heard and seen with good looks at Yellow Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler and MacGillivray’s Warbler.

15 birders saw and heard the following 40 species:

Canada Goose

Common Merganser

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vulture

Bald Eagle

Red-tail Hawk

Spotted Sandpiper

Eurasian Collared Dove

Vaux Swift

Rufous Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Northern Flicker

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Hammond’s Flycatcher

Pacific-slope Flycatcher

Warbling Vireo

Common Raven

Violet-green Swallow

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Brown Creeper

Pacific Wren

American Dipper

Golden-crowned Kinglet

American Robin

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Townsend’s Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler

MacGillivray’s Warbler

Western Tanager

Spotted Towhee

Song Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Black-headed Grosbeak

Brown-headed Cowbird

Purple Finch

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch – male/female (R. Hocken) 

Sunday May 8, 2022:

The Sunday Bird Walk went to Bowen Park. The weather was sunny with some cloud and 10 degrees. With all the trees beginning to fill in there was a lot more to hear than see but we were able to see some like a Hairy Woodpecker, Rufous Hummingbird, and Bald Eagle.

13 birders saw and heard the following 24 species:


Bald Eagle

Glaucous-winged Gull

Rufous Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Common Raven

American Crow

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Brown Creeper

Bewick’s Wren

Pacific Wren

Golden-crowned Kinglet

American Robin

European Starling

Orange-crowned Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Spotted Towhee

Song Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Red-winged Blackbird

Pine Siskin

White-crowned Sparrow (S. Petersen)

Avian Flu

We have received many inquires about the Avian Influenza that has been in the news of late, and what to do. So far we know it does not seem to effect songbirds and it is not know what part songbirds may or may not play in the spread. It is known to affect waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, ravens, crows, magpies. Most reports in Canada are out east but there have been reports in Washington State.

To keep the feeders birds healthy regular weekly cleaning of your bird feeders is recommended, bird baths and areas around the feeders is always recommended. Use a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to clean your bird feeders and bird baths. Remove old seed from under the feeders and toss in the garbage.

The Wild Bird Feeding Institute has released an announcment with what to do with avian flu and your bird feeders;

WBFI encourages any bird feeding hobbyists that have waterfowl frequenting their bird feeders, or poultry nearby, to remove feeders temporarily. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that “Removing backyard feeders is not something the USDA specifically recommends preventing avian influenza unless you also take care of poultry.”

Here is a link to another article on the Avian Flu, https://www.wbfi.org/2022/02/18/2022birdfluupdate/

Here is a link for Bird Studies Canada information, https://www.birdscanada.org/help-respond-to-the-avian-influenza-outbreak-in-atlantic-canada/

Also, with the return of the Pine Siskins to the backyard feeders it is important to clean the bird feeders and the area under the feeders more frequently, especially with the wet weather. Use a solution of 1 part bleach or industrial white vinegar to 9 parts water for the cleaning, rinse and let dry. Remove any old seed under the feeders and garbage. If possible, move the feeders a few feet every couple of weeks so there is a clean area under the bird feeders for the birds.

The Backyard Bird Walks


Our bird walks go out Sunday mornings in Nanaimo and Tuesday mornings in Parksville and Qualicum Beach area, are easy walks that go for two to three hours (back for lunch is the plan). Bring binoculars and a field guide. The walks are weather pending.

Please check our blog (www.thebirdstore.blogspot.com) for any cancelations.

Covid-19 Precautions

Do not attend if you feel ill.  Please respect social distancing, 2 meters or 6 feet.

The Tuesday Bird Walk, May 17, 2022

The Tuesday Bird Walk will be Going to the Plummer Road side of the Englishman River Estuary.

Meet at the Parksville Tourist Information Center parking lot, located by Hwy 19A, Northwest Bay Road and Franklin’s Gull Road in Parksville, at 9:00 am or meet at the corner of Plummer Road and Shorewood Drive in Parksville about 9:10am. Weather Cooperating.

The Sunday Bird Walk, May 15, 2022

The Sunday Bird walk will be going to Morden Colliery Park in south Nanaimo.

Meet at The Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store at 9:00am or at the end of Morden Road in the parking lot by the mine head, at 9:15 am. Weather cooperating.


For cancelled bird walks due to weather, please check The Backyard blog at www.thebirdstore.blogspot.com on the day of the bird walk. A notice will be up before 8:00am if there is a cancelation.

Good birding! Colin Bartlett

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