BY THE BAY: Finding nesting sites can be a challenge for birds

With natural landscapes disappearing from the Lower Mainland, finding a good nesting site can be challenging.

Last month, a crow was pulling at a tangle of plastic bags in my carefully stuffed recycling bin.

When I went to tidy up, the crow cawed loudly, annoyed to be disturbed from its important work of finding nest material.

Bird-nesting season had begun and, for many of our neighbourhood species, it was time to find space in our crowded world to lay eggs and bring up young ones.

With natural landscapes disappearing from the Lower Mainland, finding a good nesting site can be challenging. Unlike many woodpeckers, the northern flicker will reuse holes from previous seasons, but this year our local flicker disdained last year’s nest in a decaying snag and hammered a significant hole in our neighbour’s siding.

Barn swallows are also drawn to buildings and their mud nests are often built under house eaves, a habit that some people dislike.

If you have nesting swallows, please try to tolerate them. Swallow populations, like those of many insect-eating birds, are in steep decline, and they are now on the endangered species list.

Delta still has a fairly healthy local population around the farmland, where local landowners allow them to use barns and sheds.

Not only swallows benefit from farms. Only a few barn owls live in Canada, and Delta’s farms provide excellent nest sites and hunting habitat for them in fields and hedgerows.

Some birds build nests in trees and bushes, in holes or among the branches.

Many suburban gardens lack the density of vegetation necessary to support nesting birds, so homeowners miss out on the beautiful song of the American robin on spring mornings.

Thrushes, finches, dark-eyed juncos and black-headed grosbeaks need thick foliage and tangled shrubberies to provide suitable nesting sites, hidden from cats, raccoons and hawks.

Bushtits that build woven, hanging nests need a steady supply of aphids to feed their young, so like hummingbirds are attracted to flower gardens. Natural gardens are more likely to have birds. Chickadees often take to nest boxes and have large broods, so it is easy to provide a home for these little birds.

Other birds nest right on the ground, such as the northern harrier, killdeer, and savannah sparrow, three species characteristic of the Boundary Bay marshes.

Here they face the hazard of other animals stealing their eggs or eating their young. Please keep dogs on a leash when walking the dyke, to avoid disturbing nesting birds.

Anne Murray,  the author of two nature books available in local book stores, writes monthly in the Peace Arch News – www.natureguidesbc.com

 

Just Posted

Ocean Athletics takes aim at Project Play contest in quest for track resurfacing

South Surrey Athletic Park track ‘eight years behind it’s best-before date’ says club

White Rock and South Surrey voices weigh in Trudeau ‘brownface’ and ‘blackface’

People are going to have to make an “individual choice” on how to react, says columnist

South Surrey elementary school to celebrate 70 years

Ray Shepherd Elementary to host anniversary event

Scholarships set up in memory of Surrey grandpa killed in traffic crash

Pritam Singh Benning, 83, died after a car crashed into him at a Newton bus stop on Sept. 9, 2009

VIDEO: B.C.’s famous cat Grandpa Mason has died

The story of the feral cat that started fostering kittens touched people around the world

‘Not acceptable’: Ad linking Liberal candidate to B.C. police force removed

Jati Sidhu said advertisement only appeared for 30 minutes and was created by Montreal company

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Charges stayed against Alberta RCMP officer in alleged off-duty Whistler assault

Const. Vernon Hagen instead completed an alternative measures program

Indian teachers that inspired Super 30 movie talk about hope

Movie is based on international best-selling book by B.C. doctor

Abbotsford erases skate park graffiti mural honouring student killed in car crash

Many in community angry at city’s move after saying art wouldn’t be immediately removed

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, crews on scene

Second bat found at Greater Victoria elementary school tests positive for rabies

Island Health confirms second rabies case, this time in Saanich

B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in Yukon killing

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

Most Read

l -->