It was love at first sight. One day as I was walking by the deck doors I noticed a new visitor to the bird feeder. He was subtly striped on the belly with a lovely rosy colour on his head and breast. Slightly smaller than a sparrow, he was quick moving and stretched his neck as he walked about, at once cautious and cocky.
I wrote a post about backyard birds in the summer so I won’t repeat myself. In the cold Canadian winter, feeding wild birds is joyful and it helps them survive the harsh climate. As you can see, I didn’t spend anything on a fancy feeder: I’m just using the bottoms of terracotta plant pots. My only cost is the wild birdseed mix.
This is my first year as a dedicated wild bird fan so next year I will get a nice hanging feeder. I wanted something on the deck so it is easy to fill when it’s freezing cold. And, more importantly, so that we can see the birds better and the cats have “Bird TV” to entertain them.
We get tons of little House Sparrows, the House Finches, common Red Polls (which look a lot like the House Finch, but with a smaller, yellow beak, see below), Blue Jays, Northern Flickers, and Mourning Doves.
I don’t know a lot about taking care of my wild bird friends yet, but here are my Top 5 beginner tips:
- Place your main feeder where you can easily see it.
- Offer something for the more shy birds (we have suet feeders in a couple trees).
- Fill the feeder at the same time each day.
- Don’t skip feedings once you have a schedule, as the birds will rely on the food.
- Find a source (i.e., garden centre or pet food store) for large bags of wild birdseed as this is far cheaper.