Feeding birds helps all, says Humane Society

Cold weather and snow are making their seasonal appear­ances over much of Canada, making it increasingly difficult for birds to find enough food.

The Humane Society of Can­ada says people and birds both benefit when humans as­sist their feathered friends by supplying them with a continu­ous 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,” said Al Hickey, Western Re­gional Director for The Hu­mane Society of Canada.

According to Hickey it is a good idea to learn what species of birds live in an 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 society execu­tive director Michael O’Sulli­van, it may take a while for birds to discover their new food source but he said they will find a 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 enquires about feeding birds that an attractive bird feeder with seed cakes was added to the Online Adventure Store on the website. Money generated from those items goes to pro­tec­ting animals and environ­ment. The charity also has a number of children’s books about birds written by author Jackie Greene.

“Bird feeding provides an excellent opportunity to learn about our beautiful feathered friends who play vital roles in nature,” said O’Sullivan.

“Us­ing bird identification books is a fun way to learn what birds are visiting your feeder,” he said. “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,” said O’Sullivan.

Bird feeding tips

Here are some things to consider:

– select a feeder that is stur­dy, easy-to-clean, and which keeps seeds dry;

– place feeders away from windows so that birds do not 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 brushing pets, 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; and

– it is safer for the cat and birds if felines are kept indoors, or, if they go outside, make sure someone goes 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,” said O’Sullivan.

Contact Al Hickey or Michael O’Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or O’Sullivan on his cell phone at 416-876-9685 or at www.humane­society.com.

The Humane Society of Canada works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. A registered charity, The Humane Society of Canada depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. To support the campaign to protect animals and the earth, make a donation online or by tele­phone.