BIRDS FROM A BACKYARD DECK
57 bird species; with pictures, information and some calls
at 108 Mile Ranch in the Cariboo region
Nature is not a place to visit. It is home. — Gary Snyder
FOR YOUR HUMMINGBIRDS: Most white/refined sugar in Canada is from beets and most beets are now genetically modified. Not good for any of us but especially threatening for hummers who drink so much of it from our feeders, especially in their first month or two after coming north. In Canada we can buy reasonably-priced white cane sugar from Sweet Source. No label indicating GMO-free but apparently cane sugar hasn't (yet?) been genetically modified.: http://sweetsourcesugar.com/our-products/#white-refined-sugar.
First siting of nighthawks - and about 100 of them arrived, spending an hour catching insects around our treetops.
2015 SPRING: The past couple of days, a plethora of birds: varied thrush (males and females a day or two later), chickadees, juncos, brown creepers and all the woodpeckers, of course.
I'd sooner be a small bird in a hawk-filled wood than a caged chicken on a factory farm.- Simon Barnes in How to be a Bad Birdwatcher
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|Click on the bird's name to see a picture (either on this site or another).
For more information on any of the birds, use our BC Birds search.
American Robin Actually a thrush. Juvenile Robin
Black-capped Chickadee CALL
Brown Creeper Walks up tree trunks
Brown-headed cowbird (juvenile)
Canada Goose We see and hear them, flying above.
Cedar Waxwing This one's a juvenile.
Chestnut-backed Chickadee The rarest of our visitors.
Common Loon Flying overhead with its characteristic call.
Common Nighthawk A large flock spent an hour over our trees catching insects
Common Raven The big, black trickster.
Common Redpoll with a striking little red "helmet"
Dark-eyed Junco Said to look like a little hangman
Downy Woodpecker PECKING/CALL
Evening Grosbeak They really do have a gros, i.e. large, beak.
Fox Sparrow No, it doesn't hunt foxes; just looks a bit like one.
Grey Jay Also known as "Camp Robber" and "Whiskey Jack"
Hermit Thrush Famed for its call.
House Finch CALL
Woodpecker and squirrel take turns at the drinking bowl.
Northern Flicker Another woodpecker. This one likes ants.
Northern Goshawk An impressive presence - on the edge of our woods.
Orange-crowned Warbler The crown is almost invisible
Osprey Usually found nearer the lake
Pileated Woodpecker The big one
Pine Siskin MATING CALL Eat the seeds out of dandelions
Purple Finch So pretty
Red-breasted Nuthatch CALL They walk down tree trunks
Red-naped Sapsucker Five years before I saw one of these.
Red-winged Blackbird CALL
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Not much bigger than a hummingbird.
Ruffed Grouse Known for their wing-drumming
Rufous Hummingbird CALL
Sharp-shinned Hawk North America's smallest raptor
Steller's Jay Info. CALL British Columbia's bird.
Swainson's Thrush CALL
Varied Thrush Regular visitors in the spring and autumn
Western Tanager Migration map
White-crowned Sparrow Juvenile
Wilson's Warbler CALL
Yellow-headed Blackbird Usually stays amidst reeds on the lake
Yellow-rumped warbler. If you're not sure, wait until it flies away from you.
I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulette I could have worn. - Henry David Thoreau, in Walden
The picture (on the left) largely speaks for itself. The feeder is made from an old tennis ball container, a frisbee and a couple of wooden kebab skewers, which protrude equally on each side.
The size of the feed holes is important: big enough to let the seeds out but not so big that they fall out. I made these and the skewer holes with a red-hot piece of heavy wire (heated with a propane torch). I also drilled small holes in the frisbee (base) to allow for drainage of water/snow.
Be sure to use good glue.
I bought the cheapest frisbee I could find ($1). Total cost: of feeder: $1 plus a few pennies for the skewers and glue.
This feeder lasted eight years - until an injured and hungry bear took it down.
If you make one, send me a picture.
|Jennifer in Pennsylvania:
I bought a house and there were boxes of old pots and pans . . . instant feeder. The aluminum colander works great for drainage and to hold seed. I used an old coffee pot, a lid from a big pot to keep squirrels away and a thick wire hanger to hold it all together…after some holes were drilled. Thank you for the inspiration.
Or, if you prefer, make a papier mache feeder.
CHICKADEE SURVIVAL from Tracker by Tom Brown Jr.
Of all the birds, Stalking Wolf respected the chickadee the most, even more than the hawk or the owl. . . . above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit.
The exuberance of the chickadee made him our idol. In the coldest weather, when other birds have gone into the brush to wait behind a dome of driven snow, for the weather to clear, the chickadee is always out, his chickadee-dee-dee ringing off the snow. When the fox has curled himself up under a small tree and let the snow drift him a blanket of insulation, the chickadee is out doing the loop-the-loops over the seedless snow. Calling louder than playing children that he is there and alive and happy about it!
A chickadee doesn't look like a good bet for survival; you could close your hand with one in the palm almost without hurting him. There are better fliers . . . But nobody flies with more reckless abandon than the chickadee, and nobody flies with more delight.
The chickadee lives by joyous faith in living. Whenever anything else curls up and prepares to wait, or die, the chickadee is out in the middle of it. I have heard them even in the middle of a blizzard, chirping with that dancing tone over and over into the cold air, as if it thinks that hiding from a storm is the craziest form of self denial.
His voice comes out of the cold silence like the last voice in the world, singing that everything which has gone under the snow is neither lost nor dead and that life survives beautifully somewhere else and will return. There is a joy in its song which says that everybody who is hiding from the storm is missing the best part.
The information on this site is accurate to the best of our knowledge but we make no guarantees and recommend that if the information is important to you that you cross-check with another source.