Big City, Little Homestead

Living rural in the city.

Category: Birds and Wildlife (page 1 of 5)

A link about (or from?) our friendly feathered friends – a water feature will always attract wildlife and insect (pollinators as much as mosquitos – clean out the bird bath regularly). Here’s how you can make a simple bird bath.

via How to Make a Birdbath | Audubon

Spring migration is underway – and it’s dangerous

The other day, I watched a documentary by New Hampshire Public Television on bird migration. I learned a few startling facts about habitat loss and other pressures that decimate bird populations, but most alarming of all was that their mortality while migrating is as high as 85%. I doubt that is due to hurricanes and low seasonal food, though these are real risks that the birds have always faced. I’m sure that the majority is due to human activity:

  • Building and tower lights on at night throwing birds off course, exhausting and killing them. Birds migrate at night, and the light of the moon used to guide them. Now, our overlit cities and buildings misguide them.
  • Critical habitat loss on migration routes. Birds need to land and feed and stay according to the season and weather, before proceeding north (or south) again.
  • Bird strikes on power and cellular telephone infrastructure – wires and towers, and not just those of wind turbines.
  • Bird strikes on buildings, now more than ever – read Glass architecture is killing millions of migratory birds.
  • And the grand winner: Our pet and feral cats are the biggest killers by far. Do not underestimate the carnage that any sweet kitty causes. It’s not good fun. If you absolutely insist – you’re wrong, but still – on putting your cat outdoors, do it only at night, when birds are in flight. During the day they need to come down and search for food, water, and rest.

In every city, Continue reading

Climbing vines on the shady side 

My house is almost famous for the green wall of vines I have growing on it – which you can see in the banner of our Facebook page. Of all the neighbours, the only others who have vines are those on the end on a row, with a big wall to cover.

My Virginia creeper is now about six years old, and for two years, I also  let one climb out back, on the  shady eastern side. At the same time, I nabbed a real ivy plant and planted it in the same place, but I suspect that Virginia creeper inhibits other plants, as it failed to thrive.

This year, out back, I dug out the creeper and planted a climbing hydrangea in its place, as I wanted the flowers, and a climber that thrived in the shade. Little did I know, but it also released the ivy, which has since taken off.

It’s inspiring me for next year, where I’m going to remove the creeper from the front of my house (except the garage wall) and plant ivy in its place, because it spreads nicely and is less rambunctious.

It is not true that climbing plants damage your bricks. They help shade your home so that it’s cooler, they look nice, and they also give wild birds a place to hang out, and berries and insects to eat. (I’ve had no problem with insects, other than fruit flies that go after my composter.)

10 Cool Ways To Attract Endless Wildlife To Your Backyard!

I’m going to implement at least one project here – 10 Cool Ways To Attract Endless Wildlife To Your Backyard!

I actually have made the wine bottle bird feeder – and I’ve got other pictures (follow the “Birds” category) to show it in action.

Bird-killing window – Windsor Salt, Pointe Claire, QC

This happened two years ago – to me – if I found the Canada Warbler around 8:30 AM one morning, surely many more are found every day.

In Toronto this past Monday, I saw a newly constructed glass building, in the newly built West Don Lands area, that used bird-friendly glass. We need to implement this everywhere! There is a push to make it standard, but it’s only beginning, it feels like, with all the (#$%*&! non-environmental anyway!) glass buildings being constructed.

Here is a guide on bird-friendly retrofitting your windows:

And here is a guide about what DOES NOT work:

American readers, you can support Audubon and the push to standardize bird-friendly building measures and standards in this action alert for the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act

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