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Friday, June 3, 2016

Backyard Birds & 4 Nasty Diseases

For a summary of four of the most common diseases backyard birds get - and how you can help prevent them - see my BirdCanada post here.

House Finch with conjunctivitis and Rufous Hummer.
Luckily, the bacteria does not affect hummers. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Coal Tankers in the Pacific Flyway?

A battle is raging here on Gabriola Island. Once again, it's big industry versus locals and the environment - one that includes a lot of birds that use the Pacific Flyway. I wrote about it here: BirdCanada

Photo by Kristin Miller.

Thank you to all the talented Gabriola photographers who contributed their photos!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Bald Eagles of Gabriola

My February BirdCanada article is about GROWLS' Eagle Monitoring Program - and Bald Eagles in general. It's chock full of amazing photos of Bald Eagle nests by talented and generous Gabriola photographers. Many many thanks!  

Family of Baldies near Whalebone. Photo by Bill McGann. 

Read it here > Love is in the Air

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Gabriola Christmas Bird Count Photo Display

Many many thanks to all the talented Gabriola photographers who contributed their wonderful photos to this post. To view, click here > BirdCanada

Fox Sparrow on a snow day 


Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Thing About Birds

For my final Bird Canada post of 2015 I got a little philosophical. 
Check it out here: Just what is it about birds?

The Gabriola Turkeys Christmas shopping at the new "mall" 

Happy 2106 everyone! What are your bird-related resolutions?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Steller's Jays vs the Humans

The Jays like the driftwood feeder where I "hide" their peanuts

One of the humans involved in the battle. Note the thinking cap. 

Here's the link to today's Bird Canada post. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

House Finches & Conjunctivitis

Most of us know that there are serious downsides to feeding the birds. 

Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, and a Downy Woodpecker

I've written about some of the potential problems before:

And on Monday, Carol Off from CBC's As It Happens interviewed researcher Dana Hawley from Virginia Polytechnic about how bird feeders can spread conjunctivitis to House Finches. 

Bird baths attract House Finches 

Listen to the interview and/or read the article here. The highlights:

  • House Finches (an introduced species) use bird feeders a lot
  • When an infected finch rubs its itchy eye on the port of a feeder, it leaves bacteria there, just waiting for the next finch to pick it up 
  • In this study the finch population dropped by 50% over the winter due to conjunctivitis

If you're going to feed the birds, SANITIZE your feeders regularly. A solution of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach will do the trick.  Be sure to rinse well.