It has been a busy winter even without the hundreds of Pine Siskins at the feeders. This year there seems to be less natural seed about as many of the finch family have departed. The Steller’s Jays arrived with a bang and now Evening Grosbeaks are visiting many backyard feeders. A couple of rare visitors have also arrived. For the last couple of months a Northern Mockingbird is being seen out at Doumont and Eyelash roads west of Brannen Lake in Nanaimo and a Gray Catbird is visiting a backyard suet feeder on Carlton Road in North Nanaimo.
Anna’s Hummingbirds are now getting ready for nesting and you may have noticed a few territorial battles going on. If you would like to help the hummingbirds, place out a cattail or bulrush with the down or fluff on it for the hummingbirds to use for nest building. Place it near the feeders where you can see them taking the material. In just a month and a half the Rufous Hummingbirds will be arriving and spring will be upon us. It’s time to make sure that your nest boxes are ready for the nesting season as chickadees and other birds will start to look for nesting cavities soon.
To mark the approach of spring, The Backyard Wildbird and Nature Store near Superstore in Nanaimo is having a spring seed sale. This is the time to stock up on bird seed for the busy migration and nesting season. Until February 19, 2011, you can save 15 percent on bags and jugs of bird seed with a minimum purchase of $100. Purchase the bird seed you will need for the next few months at the sale price and just pick it up as you need it. That way you do not have to worry about storage and the seed is always fresh. If you can’t make it in, they also take phone orders.
The Backyard Wildbird and Nature Store is an independant birdstore that has been in business for 14 years. Their store at 6314 Metral Drive, Nanaimo, is open Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and Sunday from noon to 4:30 pm. Keep up to date by finding Backyard’s new Facebook page as owner Colin Bartlett will be posting the latest sightings and sales. At 9 am on Sunday mornings there are organized two-to-three hour bird walks. On Sunday, February 6, 2011, the walk will be to the Nanaimo River Estuary in south Nanaimo. For more information call 250-390-3669.