April Newsletter 2010
Just a Thought.....
You know that spring has arrived when you wake up in the morning to the sound
of birds singing. Most birds show off their beautiful songs at this time of the year
to attract a mate or to claim their territory. But there is one bird that seems to be
the vocally challenged member of an otherwise melodious family - the varied
thrush. Thrushes have beautiful songs, even the common robin has a lovely song
that announces the arrival of spring. My favourite thrush is the Swanson’s Thrush.
They arrive in our backyard in late April or May and have a haunting call that I
could listen to for hours. But not the varied thrush. They wake me each morning
with a harsh, trilled whistle, a sound that should not come from a cousin of the robin . As much as I
like these birds - their black and orange markings are striking - I cannot stand that noise. They
probably have another lovely song (like all thrushes) that they sing during nesting in the mountains
- I certainly hope they get there soon and leave the morning serenades for other creatures, like the
(PS - Apologies to anyone (like Cliff) who enjoys the sound of this thrush - I, unfortunately, am not
one of them!)
Spring is the perfect time for putting out a water feature. You can choose from hanging,
self-filling, stake or concrete bird baths - it all depends on your available space. Whatever the
style, just make sure that the bird bath’s depth is not over 1" - smaller birds will not use a deep
bath although the robins certainly love them.
Moving water is the best for attracting birds so take a look at our selection of drippers and
misters. All you need is access to a hose and you have a tinkling bird bath that birds will love
and mosquitoes hate!
And to make it easy on your pocket book, we have made a special purchase of concrete bird
baths and are passing the savings onto you! Several styles to chose from. Reg $ 169.99, now on
Looking for a home is a beautiful 4 piece concrete fountain, complete with pump. This fountain
has been sitting in our Abbotsford store for 5 years and would look far better in someone’s yard.
Regular price was $850.00, we are letting it go for $250.00, a real steal!
Just a Reminder
Have your bird houses clean and ready to go. If your old one is falling apart, come in for a
new one, we have lots!
Mason bees should be outside now. Fruit trees are starting to bloom even with our
unsettled weather. Bees can handle a little cold in springtime and you don’t want them
emerging in your ‘fridge!
Christmas in March
I know it’s spring but it feels like Christmas in the stores with all the new stock that has arrived. Cliff had
a great trip to Atlanta and we have many new feeders and bird houses to get you ready for the upcoming
Recycled Plastic Feeders and Houses
Recycled plastic is the material of the future: plastic is one thing we will never
run out of (unlike wood). And as more companies adopt plastic, the variety
of feeders available is endless - some companies even tell you how many milk
jugs went into the making of your feeder!
“Going Green” We have many different styles of bird products
that have embraced “green!” Recycled plastic feeders are available in Bird’s Choice 4 Qt Feeder
both hoppers and post mounts in all sizes. The larger feeders are made w/Suet Holders
of 5/8" poly-lumber (recycled plastic).In addition, we now carry
some smaller recycled feeders that are made of 3/8" thickness
plastic. This makes them lighter as well as less expensive.
Bird’s Choice 7 Qt Feeder
w/Angled Suet Holders
The new chickadee bird house (made of recycled plastic) is
made to Audubon specifications and features a predator
guard. We also have wren houses in the recycled plastic.
Suet feeders are green as well. Now, in addition to the tail hook feeders
we have always carried, we have in stock other styles , like the double
suet recycled feeder shown here. Recycled plastic is a great material for
suet feeders - not only does it clean up much easier than wood but
squirrels have a harder time eating it!
Get Ready to Welcome Goldfinches!
The American Goldfinch, that cheerful, lemony yellow bird of
summer, is arriving as we speak. The beginning of April is when
we really start to see them checking out our feeders. And what better
way to welcome them home than with a new feeder!
Yellow Nyjer Mesh from Bird’s Choice - Goldfinches love the
yellow colour and the fact that they can feed the entire length of the
Other new nyjer feeders are the metal “magnet mesh”. The magnet
mesh is available in brass, nickel and dark green metal, in case
yellow doesn’t match your yard!
And don’t worry, for the birds who like the tube feeders with the smaller holes for nyjer,
we have new feeders for them as well. Droll Yankee’s new Black Onyx feeders have a
removable bottom for easy cleaning and staggered perches to allow more feeding
stations. Another new one is a tube feeder with recycled plastic, also with an easy to
Tube Nyjer Feeder
Droll Yankee Black Onyx
Med Nyjer Feeder
Practical and Beautiful
Everyone is always looking for a statement piece for their yard, the one
that makes people and birds go “WOW!”. What better way than to
put up a copper topped feeder or bird house. We have several to
chose from, like the lantern copper top mixed seed feeder (left),
copper top hopper and copper top chickadee and wren bird houses
The Feisty ones are Back too!
Why should just goldfinches get new feeders? The hummers are back as well and they
deserve a fresh start to the season too! (Just a reminder, if you don’t have your feeder out yet, don’t
waste anymore time, hang it out right away). Our new feeders are pretty, easy to clean, drip proof
and in colours that should attract even the most particular hummingbird.
Ceramic Hummingbird Feeders from Lone Wolf - Lone Wolf have developed
and tested their unique feeders in New Mexico, the mecca for hummingbirds.
Hummers love the realistic flowers found on these feeders.
Glass hummingbird feeders are an attractive addition to any yard. We offer
several different styles of bright red glass feeders that should interest your
Basin style feeders are the best ones to use as
they don’t leak and are easy to clean.
HummZinger Feeders by Aspects come in several
different sizes and their bright red colour doesn’t fade.
All feature ant moats and the HummZinger Ultra also
has bee and wasp guards.
And don’t forget all those other little items that hummers need to keep happy and
healthy, like ant traps, bottle and port brushes and pre-packaged sugar solutions.
Tips to Remember When Feeding Hummingbirds
Clean and change solutions frequently, especially in hot weather.
Use vinegar instead of bleach in hot water to remove any mildew or mold.
Use a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part sugar - white sugar only, no brown sugar, honey or red dye
Attract hummers to your yard using plants they love
If you are very lucky, you may find a pileated woodpecker visiting your suet
feeders. Not many people are treated to the sight of these large, handsome
woodpeckers hammering away at a suet block.
Pileated woodpeckers are the largest woodpeckers found in North America
(unless the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is still in existence), almost the size of a
large crow at 16"-19" long. They have a black body with white stripes on the
face and neck, white underwings and wing patch. The large red crest is found
on both male and females - the sexes can be distinguished by the red patch at
the base of the bill in males and a black one in females. Many people are
reminded of “Woody Woodpecker” when they see a pileated for the first time, “Woody” was actually
inspired by him!
These large birds need an equally large territory, 100-200 acres. The existence of
large 3"-6" rectangular holes excavated from trees will announce their presence as
well as their wild, laughing call and loud drumming that sounds like a hammer.
Pairs mate for life and stay together all year although they may roost separately
during winter months. The nest cavity is excavated each year
15-70 ft above the ground and the actual cavity is 10"-24" deep.
3-5 white eggs are laid and incubated by both parents, who also
work together to raise their brood. The young leave the nest at 24-28 days but the
family stays together until the fall. During this time the adults feed and teach the
young how to find their own food.
The favourite food for these woodpeckers is carpenter ants or other wood-boring
beetle larvae. You can observe the birds “listening” for ants or other insects in
trees before they begin hammering. Pileated will also pry off loose bark or wood
strips while feeding to expose the ants. Watching them go after a meal is amazing
- large wood chips that would make a lumberjack proud fly everywhere! Other
foods are fruit (apples especially), nuts and suet.
Pileated woodpeckers are important to the biodiversity of the forest. They use the large nesting holes
for only one season, leaving these sites accessible for other cavity nesting birds like wood ducks or
owls. Wood-boring insects that will damage trees are enthusiastically consumed by theses birds,
keeping the forest healthy.
-Pileated woodpeckers can dig such deep holes looking for food that they can break small trees in half.
-The trees that they chose to nest in are so large that they can pose a lighting hazard!
-Parent birds will move the eggs from one nest to another if a nest proves unsafe.
#13-33324 South Fraser Way
Abbotsford, B.C. V2S 2B4
Ph - 604-852-1960
Open Mon-Sat 10 - 5
8810-C Young Road
Chilliwack, B.C. V2P 4P5
Ph - 604-792-1239
Open Mon-Sat 10 - 5