Avian Flu Outbreak

Click here for a simple, handy flowchart to help you decide if you should take your feeders down, or visit Bird Studies Canada, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Environment & Natural Resources Canada for more information and to keep up to date.

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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...

Saturday, 24 September 2022

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 sources such as Bird Studies Canada, the Cornell Lab of OrnithologyEnvironment and Climate Change Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency concludes that there is currently still very little to no risk of songbirds catching avian flu.

It is safe to continue feeding your backyard birds as long as you do not have poultry, or waterfowl  visiting your feeders. Just be sure to keep the area clean and disinfect feeders once a week with a 10% bleach solution, or a 50% cleaning vinegar solution (industrial white vinegar found in hardware stores, different from cooking vinegar) and remove any old bird seed on the ground. If you do have backyard chickens but keep them at a distance from your wild bird feeding area, you can continue feeding but we recommend you be careful to keep your chickens and backyard birds well away from each other.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Nanaimo Bird Report September 21, 2022

 The Backyard Wildbird and Nature Store

Nanaimo Bird Report

September 21, 2022


“EXPLORE NATURE” --- GO BIRDING:

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.
*********************************************************


Greater Yellowlegs (B. Denham)

Tuesday September 20, 2022:

The Tuesday Bird Walk went to the Englishman River Estuary – Plummer Road. The weather was sunny, winds calm, tide was out and 16 degrees. Birds on the estuary were a little quiet but we had a great look at a Greater Yellowlegs. A couple of highlights seen on the strait were, Parasitic Jaeger, and Marbled Murrelet,

12 birders saw and heard the following 40 species:

Canada Goose

American Wigeon

Mallard

Gadwall

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal

Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser

Common Loon

Red-necked Grebe

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vulture

Killdeer

Greater Yellowlegs

Parasitic Jaeger

Bonaparte’s Gull

Short-billed Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull

California Gull

Marbled Murrelet

Eurasian Collared Dove

Anna’s Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Northern Flicker

Common Raven

American Crow

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

American Robin

Cedar Waxwings

European Starling

Spotted Towhee

White-crown Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Song Sparrow

House Finch

Purple Finch

American Goldfinch

Pine Siskin


 American Goldfinch, male, winter plumage (R. Hocken)

Sunday September 18, 2022:

The Sunday Bird Walk went to Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo. The weather was sunny with a light breeze and 16 degrees. The walk started off with a bang, hearing Virginia Rail at the parking lot entrance, seeing 10 Pectoral Sandpipers and a Baird’s Sandpiper on the marsh and hearing a Common Yellowthroat but unable to see it.

16 birders saw and heard the following 33 bird species:

Canada Goose

Wood Duck

Mallard

Green-winged Teal

Pied-billed Grebe

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vulture

Cooper’s Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Virginia Rail

Killdeer

Pectoral Sandpiper

Baird’s Sandpiper

Band-tailed Pigeon

Anna’s Hummingbird

Northern Flicker

Common Raven

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Bushtit

Marsh Wren

Bewick’s Wren

American Robin

Cedar Waxwing

European Starling

Common Yellowthroat

Spotted Towhee

Song Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Red-winged Blackbirds

House Finch

Purple Finch

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow

Spotted Towhee (R. Hocken)

Backyard Bird Notes:

Reports of a new backyard bird species with a different plumage are visiting the backyard feeders.

Both are common birds that we see regularly but their winter or non-breeding plumage makes them look quite different.

The first is the American Goldfinch. First thought when you hear the name is a bright yellow plumage that lights up the backyard, but in the fall, they molt and change plumage to a dull beige/yellow colour. They still have the black wing bars and no streaking like a Pine Siskin. Some goldfinches do stay for the winter, but most will migrate south till next spring when they return and molt into the yellow plumage we are used to seeing.

The other species is unique with white spots all over the feathers that have a brown outline. These birds also move in large flocks and can take over the lawn. Sorry, they are just European Starlings in their non-breeding plumage. It is unique, as starlings only molt once a year and those spots on the feathers are like a waxy substance that wears off for next breeding season providing them with what looks like new shiny feathers. Another change is the bill colour, from yellow in the spring to black in the winter.

Fall can be a fun time identifying birds, as some birds have a complete plumage change and juvenile birds will start molting to their adult plumage. Unfortunately, the field guides do not always show the different plumages, so a little detective work is needed.

Remember to give all your bird feeders a good cleaning with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water and to clean them regularly, including your water source.

If you have any birds to report or need help identifying, just email or call the store, thebackyard@shaw.ca or 250-390-3669, toll-free 1-888-808-BIRD (2473).

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.

The Tuesday Bird Walk, September 27, 2022

The Tuesday Bird Walk will be Going to Deep Bay.

Meet at the Parksville Tourist Information Center parking lot, located by Hwy 19A, Northwest Bay Road and Franklin’s Gull Road in Parksville, at 8:45 am or meet at the marina parking lot in Deep Bay at 9:15am. Weather cooperating.

The Sunday Bird Walk, September 25, 2022

This week’s Sunday Bird Walk will be going to Maki Road Trail in Nanaimo.

Meet at The Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store at 9:00am or at the end of Maki Road by Living Forest Campground 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

Monday, 19 September 2022

The Planets and the International Space Station

 The Moon and Jupiter




Let’s start with a little trivia.  September 16th's Full Moon is the so-called Harvest Moon (occasionally the Corn Moon).  We are approaching the Fall Equinox, and the Moon’s orbit keeps it visible from evening to evening a bit longer than at other times of the year.  Before modern lighting, this meant that the fall harvest could be taken in with the help of moonlight, giving farmers more time each day to do so.  Hence, the label “Harvest Moon.”

The highlight of the night sky right now is Jupiter, shining very brightly in the east southeast.  It rises just after 8 p.m.  Jupiter will make a lovely pairing with the Full Moon when the Moon will be just to the right of Jupiter - the brightness of Jupiter will make it a suitable companion. Sunday the 17th evening, the Moon will have moved almost the same distance to the other side of Jupiter.

Jupiter is as bright as it is right now, since it is approaching opposition, which means it will be directly opposite Earth from the Sun on September 26, and will therefore be highest in the sky near midnight over the next few weeks.

With a pair of binoculars, you can often see the four bright Moons of Jupiter, as they perform a dance around it from night to night (but I would wait a couple days until the bright Moon isn’t so close by).  If you don’t see all four, one or more of them may be directly in front or behind Jupiter.  Sometimes they will be all to one side or the other of Jupiter, but you can see their changes easily from night to night.

Saturn

Saturn is nowhere near as bright as Jupiter, but if you look towards the south southeast in the evening, you might see one “star” that is clearly brighter than the others.  That is Saturn, sitting about 20 degrees above the horizon around 10 p.m., which is a little less than the distance from your thumb to your little finger on an outstretched hand at arm’s length.  With a spotting scope, you might be able to discern the slight bulge in its shape due to its rings, or perhaps you might even be able to make out the rings themselves.

Venus

Venus is visible in the predawn light, low in the east.  Since Venus is rising just before 6 a.m., it will be hard to spot it unless you have a good low horizon.


A sure sign of Winter

If you are up in the early hours before sunrise, you may see the three stars that form the belt of Orion rising in the east.  Orion is a distinctly winter constellation, and it will be rising earlier and earlier until by the beginning of November Orion will be rising before midnight.

The International Space Station

For those of us on Vancouver Island and the lower BC mainland, we will have few nice evening passes of the Space Station over the next ten days or so.  There will be other passes, but these are the best.

On Thursday, Sept. 15, ISS will rise in the southwest at 8:52 p.m.  It will remain quite low in the southern sky.  What makes this pass special is that just after it passes above Saturn, it will fade from the sky as it enters Earth’s orbit.

ISS will do another nice disappearing act on Friday, Sept. 16.  It will rise in the west southwest at 9:40, and just three minutes or so later, when it’s about half way up the southwestern sky, it will fade from sight.

Saturday (Sept 17) will give us a nice bright pass. ISS rises in the southwest at 8:51, climbs nicely up the southern sky, passing very close to the bright star Altair, which is the bottom star of the so-called Summer Triangle.  Look above that, more than the width of your outstreched hand for two other very bright stars that make up the triangle.  As it approaches Jupiter, but higher in the sky than Jupiter, it will fade from sight at 8:57.

Sunday (Sept 18) will give us two chances to see the ISS.  ISS will first rise in the southwest at 8:03.  It will cross the southern sky, a bit below Altair, and after passing above Jupiter in the east, it will fade from sight just above the horizon.

Since the ISS orbits the Earth about every 90 minutes, it will come back around again, rising in the west at 9:40.  This will be a short pass, climbing nicely up the north northwest sky before fading from sight at 9:44.

The brightest pass of this series will be on Monday, Sept. 19, when ISS will rise in the west at 8:51, climb very high overhead, a bit to the north (not too far from the top stars of the Summer Triangle), and then fade from sight in the east northeast at 8:57.

Clear skies.

David

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Nanaimo Bird Report September 13, 2022

The Backyard Wildbird and Nature Store

Nanaimo Bird Report

September 13, 2022

“EXPLORE NATURE” --- GO BIRDING:
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.
*********************************************************


Pacific Golden-Plover (G. Fowler)

Tuesday September 13, 2022:

The Tuesday Bird Walk went to Columbia Beach, French Creek. The weather was overcast, winds calm, tide was on the way out and 16 degrees. A few highlights from the bird walk were, great looks at a Pacific Golden-Plover on the beach, a Rhinoceros Auklet feeding with a flock of gulls and a couple of Orange-crowned Warblers in the bushes.

15 birders saw and heard the following 40 species:

Canada Goose

Mallard

Surf Scoter

White-winged Scoter

Harlequin Duck

Common Merganser

California Quail

Common Loon

Red-necked Grebe

Double-crested Cormorant

Pelagic Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vulture

Merlin

Black-bellied Plover

Pacific Golden-Plover

Killdeer

Black Oystercatcher

Greater Yellowlegs

Spotted Sandpiper

Black Turnstones

Western Sandpiper

Bonaparte’s Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull

California Gull

Rhinoceros Auklet

Eurasian Collared Dove

Rock Pigeon

Anna’s Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Northern Flicker

Common Raven

American Crow

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Orange-crowned Warbler

Spotted Towhee

Golden-crowned Sparrow

White-crown Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

House Sparrow


Savannah Sparrow (R. Hocken)

Sunday September 11, 2022:

The Sunday Bird Walk went to Neck Point Park in Nanaimo. The weather was sunny, smokey, water was calm and 18 degrees. A few highlights from the walk were, Black-throated Gray Warbler in the trees near the parking lot, American Pipits on the rocks near the boardwalk, Rhinoceros Auklet and great views of a pod of Orcas near the shore with a Humpback Whale further out.

11 birders saw and heard the following 20 bird species:

White-winged Scoter

Double-crested Cormorant

Pelagic Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Black Oystercatcher

California Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull

Marbled Murrelet

Rhinoceros Auklet

Anna’s Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Northern Flicker

Common Raven

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Red-breasted Nuthatch

American Pipit

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Spotted Towhee

Savannah Sparrow

Purple Finch

 

Orca pod

Humpback Whale

Sea lion


House Finch (J. Morrison)

Backyard Bird Notes:

It has been an interesting spring and summer for the birds. With the wet, cool spring and then a flick of the switch it was hot and dry. Water was a very important for the birds this summer and the bird baths were busy.

At our feeders the birds have been a little quiet through the summer, but we are seeing House Finch and American Goldfinch, in winter plumage, visiting the sunflower feeders. The suet feeder is always busy starting in late August. The Bushtits are flocking together, and I see about 20 at a time on the suet feeder as they make multiple visits during the day, along with a family of Northern Flickers, Pileated Woodpecker, chickadees, and Red-breasted Nuthatch.

There was a pair of Dark-eyed Juncos that hung around and nested through the summer and now we are starting to see a few others visiting the feeders. Usually, it is around mid-September that the flocks of juncos begin to return to the backyard feeders.

So as the weather begins to cool and a little moisture falls, activity in your backyard will get a little busier as the birds establish their winter feeding area. Watch for Dark-eyed Juncos, Spotted Towhees, Song Sparrows, and Golden-crowned Sparrows the arrive in your backyard.

Don’t forget about the Anna’s Hummingbirds as they are busy starting to nest again. I have a male Anna’s Hummingbird busy doing their display dives in my backyard and we have seen females taking nesting material.

Remember to give all your bird feeders a good cleaning with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water and to clean them regularly, including your water source.

If you have any birds to report or need help identifying, just email or call the store, thebackyard@shaw.ca or 250-390-3669, toll-free 1-888-808-BIRD (2473).

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.

The Tuesday Bird Walk, September 20, 2022

The Tuesday Bird Walk will be Going to Englishman River Estuary, Plummer Road.

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 parking area at the corner of Plummer Road and Shorewood Drive at 9:10am. Weather cooperating.

The Sunday Bird Walk, September 18, 2022

This week’s Sunday Bird Walk will be going to Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo.

Meet at The Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store at 9:00am or at the marsh entrance at the end of Buttertubs Drive off Bowen Road 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

 

 

                          

  

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Weekly Bird Walks

 


WEEKLY BIRD WALKS

It's on, the weekly bird walks are starting again this weekend. For those interested, our bird walks go out Sunday mornings in Nanaimo and Tuesday mornings and in the Parksville, Qualicum Beach area. The walks are easy and go for two to three hours (back for lunch is the plan). Bring binoculars, a field guide and prepare in case the weather changes. The walks are weather pending so not so nice days, please check our blog (www.thebirdstore.blogspot.com) for any cancelations.

Our first walk this Sunday September 11 is going to Neck Point Park.

Meet at The Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store at 9:00am or at the picnic tables by the parking lot at 9:15 am. Weather cooperating.

On Tuesday September 13, the bird walk will be going to Columbia Beach.

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 parking area located on Admiral Tryon Blvd (Hwy 19A, right on Columbia Drive and drive to the end, turn right on Admiral Tryon Blvd) at 9:15am. Weather cooperating.

Look forward to seeing you out on the walks, Colin.

General information on our bird walks can be found on our website, and if you have any additional questions feel free to stop by or give us a call.