Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – December 26, 2009

Have You Seen the Beauty and Wonder Just Outside your Door?

It is now officially winter as we have passed the 21st of December and the days now begin their ascent to becoming longer each day.

How wonderful is that!  One of the things that I thoroughly enjoy during the winter months is the company of our local bird life.  We leave the flower vegetation from our gardens in the summer which provide some limited cover and seeds for visiting birds.

Additionally bird feeders have been place at various places around the house; close to bushes and trees which help sustain our feathered friends and provide us with a wonderful reminder of simple living.

The wonderful squeak of the goldfinch, the chick-a-dee-dee-dee of the chick-a –dee, the cooing of the doves, the cawing of the blue jays provide entertainment and delight for the eyes, ears and soul. According to Nature Canada the population of Chick-a-dees has declined by 72% over the past few generations.  As we are losing forests faster than they are being replanted, this isn’t a big surprise. So what can we do to help?

Putting out feeders during the winter months provide opportunity for enjoyment and education.  The cold weather poses challenges in finding food due to the snow and ice.  Our active winter wildlife needs to find and consume enough food to keep their metabolism going throughout the long, cold nights. Birds search for the easiest sources of food—bird feeders. This brings diseased birds in close contact with one another and can lead to the spread of avian diseases.  Following basic bird feeder hygiene is key to insure your gesture helps to maintain bird health.

Clean your feeders every two weeks with soapy water followed by a soaking in a 1:9 bleach solution.  Insure the feeders are thoroughly dry before refilling.  Remove seeds dropped on the ground and consider moving your feeders on a regular basis.  This will insure droppings from one bird will not infect another when feeding. Responsible bird feeding insures that we are not adding another challenge to the various others faced by our over wintering birds.

Beauty and wonder is always around us.  The beautiful bird songs are wishing us a wonderful Holiday Season!  Merry Christmas everyone.

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