Cold weather and snow is making its’ seasonal appearance over much of Canada making it increasingly difficult for birds to find enough food. The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) says that people and birds can both benefit when humans assist their feathered friends by supplying them with a continual supply of quality bird feed.
“Millions of Canadians are bird lovers and over one third of Canadian households report that they feed and watch birds,” says Al Hickey, Western Regional Director for The Humane Society of Canada (HSC).
According to Hickey it is a good idea to learn what species of birds live in your area and then find out what types of feed would be good for them: “To learn about local species of birds and the foods they like you can talk to employees who sell bird feed as well as local nature and bird watching groups and animal protection organizations.”
According to HSC Executive Director Michael O’Sullivan, it may take a while for birds to discover their new food source but he says that they will find your bird feeder and gratefully return on a regular basis: “It is important to ensure that once you start supplying local birds with food that you keep food in the feeder until the birds’ natural food supplies become plentiful once again in the spring.”
The Humane Society of Canada has had so many enquiries about feeding birds that an attractive bird feeder with seed cakes was added to our Online Adventure Store on our website. Money generated from these items goes to protecting animals and environment.The charity also has a number of heart warming children’s books about birds written by author Jackie Greene that make great Christmas and Holiday gifts.
”Bird feeding provides an excellent opportunity to learn about our beautiful feathered friends who play vital roles in nature,” says O’Sullivan.The charity is the park steward for a nature reserve and provides bird food and shelter for birds who have decided not to fly south.
“Using bird identification books is a fun way to learn what birds are visiting your feeder,” he says. “These books usually provide some general information about the various birds. A good set of binoculars will help you identify winged visitors and observing and learning about birds is a wonderful way for people of all ages to learn about and develop a greater respect for nature and our feathered friends,” says O’Sullivan.
Bird Feeding Tips
- Select a feeder that is sturdy, easy-to-clean and which keeps seeds dry.
- Place feeders a minimum of 50 feet (preferably 100 feet) away from windows so that birds don’t fly into the windows.
- Place feeders where they will protect birds from the wind and predators.
- Use quality feed and store it in a clean, dry, airtight container. Make sure that the seed hasn’t gone bad. If it has gone bad dispose of it.
- Stamp down the snow underneath the feeder to help ground feeding birds like doves.
- Regularly clean the feeder. A solution of one part household vinegar to nine parts water can be used for plastic or metal feeders. These feeders should then be rinsed thoroughly with water and allowed to dry completely before being refilled. Chemicals should not be used to clean wooden feeders since wood is porous and can absorb chemicals. Clean wood feeders by scrubbing them thoroughly using hot, soapy water and then rinsing them with water.
- Local libraries contain books with simple plans on how to build bird houses
- When you brush your pets, you can leave the hair outside for birds to use as nesting material.
- Learn more about feeding birds. There is a good selection of books available and many Internet sites offer good information.
- It is safer for both your cat and birds if, your feline friends are kept indoors, or if they go outside, make sure you go with them
“We are truly blessed to have so many different kinds of birds living in every community across Canada.Nine out of ten Canadians support the protection of wildlife and their habitat, and ‘hands on’ projects like these ones, can help all of us build a better future for people, wildlife and nature,” says O’Sullivan.
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280
[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
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