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One question we receive from birders a lot this time of year is whether they should still be putting out food for birds now that winter is almost over. This article will set out why our backyard birds need us more than ever as we say farewell to winter.
Spring is a Busy Time for Birds
For birds that have already come a long way from their wintering grounds, spring is a busy season as they claim territory, seek out mates, build nests and begin to raise their young. It may be many weeks before flowers bloom and insects emerge and diminishing wild bird habitats have depleted many natural sources of food for wild birds - all challenges for our feathered friends. Offering foods for spring birds can not only invite them to your backyard, but can also help them survive late season storms and other hazards.
Summer - Time for Raising Young
In the summer, even though there is a lot of food available for birds, their energy requirements are high because they must feed their young. Summer feeding is critical for a mother bird and her hatchlings and fledglings who are entirely dependent on her for food. The additional nutrients provided through backyard feeding will sustain baby birds during this period of rapid growth and development, increasing the likelihood of survival.
Spring is a great time to make sure your feeders are clean and in good repair.
Browse our selection of bird feeder cleaning accessories »
Most Popular Food for Spring/Summer:
1. Birdseed: Black-oil sunflower seeds (or sunflower hearts for a no-mess, no waste alternative) are ideal as a nutrition rich seed. Avoid cheap bird seed mixes which contain a lot of "filler" such as red millet and milo.
2. Mealworms: Full of energy, essential nutrients, fats and proteins, mealworms are a preferred food for adult songbirds trying to feed their youngsters.
3. Fruit and Nectar: Apple and orange halves and chunks of banana are a favourite of the brightly coloured orioles and tanagers. Hummingbirds will appreciate your nectar offerings especially early in the season when there are no spring-blooming flowers that provide a natural nectar source.
4. Suet: Perfect for insect-eating birds, this high-fat food provides abundant calories and rich nutrition for many birds. Many people believe suet should only be offered in the winter months, but most suets are now made to withstand melting in the summer heat and can be used year-round.
5. Calcium Carbonate - Egg Shells: Calcium carbonate is an important nutrient for birds. When birds don’t get enough calcium in their diet their egg shell quality can be negatively impacted, which reduces the survival rate of chicks. This is why it is a good idea to supplement your bird feed with egg shells in the early spring when most bird species are nesting and laying eggs. Thoroughly wash and sterilize empty egg shells in a low-heat oven before crushing them and adding them to your feeders.
Goodbye Winter and Hello Spring!
With the coming warmer weather your yards, feeding stations and gardens will be bustling with new life. As always, we’re here to be your one-stop resource for information, advice and anything else you might need to create a feathery oasis in your yard. Happy Spring from all of us at Urban Nature Store!
Mid to late April is when most Ruby-Throated Hummingbirdmake their way to Ontario from their winter homes. Start preparing now!The Right FeederHummingbird feeders should be bright and easy to clean with many nectar ports.Hummingbirds can be very particular and you need to make sure the ports as well as interior surfaces are clean. It is [...]
For ardent birders, migration season is eagerly anticipated as an opportunity to view a large number of birds in a short period of time. It is also a special time at your backyard feeder, where you can be treated to out-of-the-ordinary birds and unusual behaviours, provided you take steps to make your backyard inviting to [...]
They're back! It's always amazing to witness the arrival of the orioles and hummingbirds. I had my first sighting of an oriole on Monday and now have three males battling over the Ultimate Oriole Feeder. This is a great all-in-one feeding station for orioles. The nectar goes in the bowl, orange slices on [...]
As we continue to expand our selection of high quality binoculars and scopes, we are pleased to announce the availability of Zeiss brand optics. ZEISS has spent over a century developing leading-edge nature observation binoculars and nature observation spotting scopes, giving nature lovers the opportunity to experience unique moments of nature in all its detail [...]
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Keep an eye on oriole movements with this migration tracker:http://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/spring2015.html...Having your feeders up in advance of their arrival is very important to successfully attract them to your yard. Get prepared now!Shop Oriole Feeders
As you may or may not know, getting your hummingbird feeders in advance of their arrival is key to successfully attracting them to your feeder. The link below will let you know when they are on their way!Track the migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds with the map below:http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html
It's almost spring and our migrating birds are beginning to appear. Courtship is in the air and our birds are looking for nesting spots.Now is the time to put up your bird house! Place your house in a quiet part of your yard or garden, at least 50 feet away from any feeding stations. [...]
The purple martins are on their way north. Make sure your purple martin houses are cleaned and ready to go. To get a day-by-day update on their progress, try the link below:2015 Scout Arrival Page