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The Bird-Friendly Backyard12The Bird-Friendly Backyardhttp://www.growgreenguide.ca/resources/news/details/12The Bird-Friendly Backyard<div class="ExternalClass510692496C9A4DC983D1B86F79F6D7EB"><p> <em>How to turn your green space into a healthy avian habitat</em></p><div style="margin:5px;width:310px;float:right;"> <img src="/resources/news/PublishingImages/AmericanGoldfinch.jpg" alt="" /> </div><p>Autumn is a fascinating time for bird-watchers in our region. A wide variety of resident and over-wintering birds are regularly observed in Metro Vancouver throughout fall and winter.  At places like Boundary Bay Regional Park and other seashore locations, immense numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds stop over on their way south. One thing is common to them all. They need food to survive the winter.</p><p>With just a few simple steps you can help all those species survive the winter, or fuel their journeys to warmer locales. Here's how to make your yard or green space a welcoming place for our feathered friends.</p><p> <span style="font-size:0.9em;"> <em>Photo: Adult male American Goldfinches are a distinctive bright yellow in the spring, changing to muted yellow-brown in the winter (pictured here).<br>Attribution: Trevor Clark </em></span></p> <br style="clear:both;"> <h3>Provide the Basics</h3><p>Food, shelter, water. These are the key ingredients for a bird-friendly backyard.</p><div style="margin:5px;width:310px;vertical-align:auto;float:left;"> <img src="/resources/news/PublishingImages/AnnasHummingbird.jpg" alt="" /> </div><h5> <strong>Food</strong></h5><p>Birds may seem to love bread crusts and leftover buns, but these kinds of foods aren't healthy for them. Instead, sunflower seeds, millet, Peanuts, niger seed, suet, and hulled sunflower seeds are examples of suitable choices with plenty of fat content to help them survive the cold of winter. It's also important to keep the feeder clean to avoid the spread of diseases and make sure the feeder location is situated so that cats and other predators can't make a meal of visiting birds. Hummingbird feeders with a sugar water solution are also a good idea over the winter, helping our local Anna's hummingbirds weather the cold season.</p><p>Our natural environment shouldn't be overlooked. Leave some seedheads and old berries on the plants in your yard and don't be too tidy with that fall cleanup. A diverse garden habitat along with some leafy debris and plant material on the ground provides nourishment for insects, which in turn can feed birds. To help you find the right choices for your yard, the Grow Green Guide offers over <a href="https://bit.ly/2ILsqd2" target="_blank">40 plants that support birds</a>.</p><p> <em><span style="font-size:0.9em;">Photo: Anna’s hummingbirds can be seen throughout the year, often relying on feeders to see them through the winter.<br>Attribution: Trevor Clark</span></em></p> <br style="clear:both;"> <div style="margin:5px;width:310px;vertical-align:auto;float:right;"> <img src="/resources/news/PublishingImages/NestBox.jpg" alt="" /> </div><h5> <strong>Shelter</strong></h5><p>A mix of shrubs, trees, and vegetation is best for providing habitat, but nest boxes are another solution. Be sure to space them at least 20 metres apart if you plan on having more than one and put them on isolated trees or poles, to reduce predation. Don’t forget to clean it after breeding season and before winter, when it may be used for shelter, to reduce the risk of diseases being transmitted. Snags (dead trees) and downed wood also provide food, nesting, and perching locations. Consider leaving them up if it’s safe to do so.</p><p> <em><span style="font-size:0.9em;">Attribution: Trevor Clark</span></em></p> <br style="clear:both;"> <div style="margin:5px;width:410px;vertical-align:auto;float:left;"> <img src="/resources/news/PublishingImages/NorthernFlickerFeeder.jpg" alt="" /> </div><h5> <strong>Water</strong></h5><p>While there is generally plenty of water in Metro Vancouver during the fall and winter, a small dish of water near your bird feeder location is a good idea. Keep it fresh and refill regularly, especially once the temperature drops and liquid water is harder for wild animals to find. As with feeders, location is important. Make sure your water supply isn't in a place where predators could make a meal of a thirsty bird.</p><p>A bird-friendly green space at your home is a great way to support wildlife that doesn't take a lot of work. For even more tips and techniques to make your yard welcoming for winged creatures visit Grow Green's resource page <a href="/resources/gardening-tips">http://www.growgreenguide.ca/resources/gardening-tips</a> and look for the 'Creating Habitat for Birds and Pollinators' section.</p><p> <em><span style="font-size:0.9em;">Photo: Northern flickers are a type of woodpecker that are commonly seen in backyards.<br>Attribution: Trevor Clark</span></em></p> <br style="clear:both;"> <h3>Useful Links</h3><p> <a href="http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/parks/ParksPublications/CIO-FallWinter2018.PDF" target="_blank">Metro Vancouver Fall Winter Activity Guide (birding activities from now till February)</a></p><p> <a href="http://www.flap.org/index.php" target="_blank">Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP)</a></p><p> <a href="https://council.vancouver.ca/20150120/documents/rr1attachmentC.pdf" target="_blank">City of Vancouver – Bird Friendly Landscape Operation Guidelines</a></p><p> <a href="http://content.yardmap.org/learn/wildlife-value-of-a-messy-garden" target="_blank">The Wildlife Value of a Messy Garden</a></p><p> <a href="https://www.burkemountainnaturalists.ca/publications/" target="_blank">Burke Mountain Naturalists – birding checklists and nest box guides </a></p><p> <a href="https://birding.bc.ca/articles/birdseed.php" target="_blank">Feeding Wild Birds</a></p><p> <a href="https://stewardshipcentrebc.ca/cats-and-birds/" target="_blank">Cats and Birds</a></p><p> <a href="https://backyardnaturalist.ca/educational-resources/bird-feeding-bird-care/keeping-rodents-out/" target="_blank">Keeping Rodents Out – The Backyard Naturalist</a></p></div>Grow Greengrowgreen@metrovancouver.org2018-10-19T07:00:00Z

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Metro Vancouver in collaboration with UBC Botanical Garden