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BIRDS FROM A BACKYARD DECK

Click for certficate on our backyard habitat from the Canadian Wildlife Federation

57 bird species; with pictures, information and some calls

at 108 Mile Ranch in the Cariboo region


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Nature is not a place to visit. It is home. — Gary Snyder

Northern Flicker

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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 Crow
American Goldfinch
American Robin Actually a thrush. Juvenile Robin
Bald Eagle.
Pine siskins on sock feederBlack-capped Chickadee CALL
Bohemian Waxwing.
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown Creeper Walks up tree trunks
Brown-headed cowbird (juvenile)
Calliope Hummingbird
Canada Goose We see and hear them, flying above.
Cedar Waxwing This one's a juvenile.
Chestnut-backed Chickadee The rarest of our visitors.
Chipping Sparrow
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"
Coopers Hawk
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.
Gray Catbird
Grey Jay Also known as "Camp Robber" and "Whiskey Jack"
Hairy Woodpecker
Hermit Thrush Famed for its call.
House Finch
CALL
House Sparrow
Woodpecker and squirrel
Woodpecker and squirrel take turns at the drinking bowl.
Mountain Chickadee
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 Grosbeak.
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-tailed Hawk
Red-winged Blackbird CALL
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Not much bigger than a hummingbird.
Ruffed Grouse Known for their wing-drumming
Rufous Hummingbird CALL
Sandhill Crane
Sharp-shinned Hawk North America's smallest raptor
Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker
Song Sparrow
Steller's Jay Info. CALL British Columbia's bird.
Swainson's Thrush CALL
Tree Swallow
Trumpeter Swan
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


     HOME-MADE BIRD FEEDERS

Cheap, home-made bird feederThe 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!

Black-capped chickadeeA 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.

 

Common Nighthawk
Local Connections
Tom Godin - Birding in the South Cariboo Tom Godin - Bird artist in the South Cariboo.
Checklist of Cariboo Chilcotin Birds Checklist of Cariboo Chilcotin Birds - Compiled by Anna Roberts, Phil Ranson and Jim Sims
[PDF, 700k].
Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society - preserving the wild
British Columbia Birding Hotspots British Columbia Birding Hotspots
BC Interior Bird list BC Interior Bird list - stay in touch with information and sitings


Resources

Building Bird Photography Skills Building Bird Photography Skills - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
The Great Backyard Bird Count The Great Backyard Bird Count - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
The Gardener's Feathered Friends The Gardener's Feathered Friends - From Gaia's Garden
Feeding Birds Feeding Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Attracting and Feeding Songbirds Attracting and Feeding Songbirds - backyard songbird conservation
Birdwatching books Birdwatching books and tools - A broad selection
BC Breeding Bird Atlas BC Breeding Bird Atlas - You can help
Cornell Searchable Bird Guide Cornell Searchable Bird Guide - or browse by name and shape or taxonomy
bird Hummingbird Nest - A remarkable series of photographs
Fir Snags and Hummingbirds Fir Snags and Hummingbirds - article by Dave Neads
Bird map of Canada Bird Map Canada - Interactive bird map of Canada
http://www.ibacanada.ca/index.jsp?lang=en Important Bird Areas in Canada - Connecting birds and people
Bird-safe windows How to make your windows bird-safe
Bird feeder watch Project Feeder Watch - Annual survey of birds that visit feeders in winter.


News

Rufous hummingbird population in North America appears to be decliningRufous hummingbird population in North America appears to be declining - CBC News
Contaminated songbirds sing the wrong tunesHeavy metal songs: Contaminated songbirds sing the wrong tunes - Environmental Health News
Wind power companies are trying to prevent deadly collisionsFor the birds (and the bats): 8 ways wind power companies are trying to prevent deadly collisions - Grist
Mysterious condition causing paralysis, death in ravens in CanadaMysterious condition causing paralysis, death in ravens in Canada- UPI
State of the world's birds is bleak but not hopelessState of the world's birds is bleak but not hopeless- BBC News
Proposed Pipeline Threatens Important Bird Areas in Canada'Proposed Pipeline Threatens Important Bird Areas in Canada - Birdlife International
Urban trees 'help migrating birds'Urban trees 'help migrating birds' - BBC News
Hummingbirds shake their heads to deal with rainHummingbirds shake their heads to deal with rain - BBC News
New study says birds learn how to build nestsNew study says birds learn how to build nests - Reuters video
Hummingbirds reveal secrets of sippingHummingbirds reveal secrets of sipping - Reuters video
Songbird decline shows need to protect boreal forestSongbird decline shows need to protect boreal forest - CBC News
World's common birds 'declining'World's common birds 'declining' - BBC News
Worries for at-risk bird speciesWorries for at-risk bird species - BBC News
Robot watches out for ivory-billed woodpecker Robot watches out for ivory-billed woodpecker - Research
Pileated woodpecker pecks without hurting his head Why the pileated woodpecker doesn't get a headache - Research
Effect of artificial lighiting on birds Light from buildings lures many birds to their death - Provocations blog
Jays and crows are the smartest birds Crows and jays top bird IQ scale - BBC News
Crows are as clever as apes Crows as clever as great apes, study says - National Geographic News
News of decline in American birds North American birds on the decline - Christian Science Monitor
Parasitic birds Parasitic birds 'happy to share' - BBC News
Climate changes disrupt birds Climate changes disrupt birds - BBC News


Grosbeaks (3 kinds), chickadees,

Watch live streaming video from feederwatchcam at livestream.com

More info.


Flooding Farms on Purpose For the Birds


Joshua Klein on the intelligence of crows

Bird-friendly coffee:

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.

The Inside British Columbia web site is provided by JN Web Design. Comments, questions, corrections: CONTACT US

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A black-capped chickadee looks out from the bird feeder


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