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by Candi Phillips

Plan Your Yard for Diversity: Have a mix of grass, flower, shrub and tree species that are the same as the natural habitats near where you live. Use native species when possible because birds know these the best, and these are best suited for where you live.

Allow Part of Your Yard to Become a Little Scruffy: Birds need overgrown grass, weeds, brush piles and dead wood. When you realize the benefit to birds and other wildlife, you too can learn to appreciate a little wildness.

Hang Feeders Properly: Window collisions kill many birds. When something frightens a bird at a feeder, the bird will take off quickly and may crash into a window, injuring or killing itself. Place a feeder directly on a window or far enough away from a window to give the birds plenty of room to maneuver when flying into or out of the feeder. Put a large black hawk silhouette or tape on the outside of the windows that birds may fly into.

Provide Birds with Food, Water and Shelter: Birds love the water, and a birdbath can often attract birds that wouldn’t normally visit your feeder. You can use an upside down garbage can lid or any shallow container to create a birdbath. Place the lid on a pedestal or a stump. Fill it with water, not more than 2” deep and make sure the water is changed daily to keep it clean and prevent breeding mosquitoes. Water dripping into a birdbath will attract more birds. If possible, suspend a can of water with a small hold in the bottom from a branch above the birdbath so water can drip into the bath.

Bathing and Housing: Birds also like to bathe in dust (dried fine earth) to get clean. It is believed that this helps them get rid of mites and lice and it increases the insulation value of their feathers. Create a pile of dust in a wooden frame in a corner of your garden or leave a pile of dried earth near a garden. You can create a nesting material bag by filling a net bag (not plastic) with natural items such as wood, dog hair, hay, straw, short bits of yarn (less than 6”). Pull things out through the netting. Hang the bag from a shrub. Birds will take things and use them when making a nest.

Be Careful about Using Pesticides: Not only can pesticides be toxic to birds, but they kill the insects that birds use for food. Pull up weeds by hand instead of spraying. Weeding is good exercise for you and is good for the environment, too.”

For more information about the Kindness Club, a non-profit organization that provides humane and environmental education, contact them at 65 Brunswick Street, Fredericton   NB E3B 1G5 Canada.

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