It’s a good time to feed the birds in Nova Sco­tia

The News (New Glasgow) - - MARITIME LIFE - BY LYNN CURWIN

With the cold tem­per­a­tures and scarcity of food, feath­ered vis­i­tors can ben­e­fit a great deal from bird feed­ers.

Last year, peo­ple were ad­vised not to put bird feed­ers out dur­ing the warmer months be­cause of the risk of spread­ing of tri­chomono­sis, which is caused by a mi­cro­scopic par­a­site. Once pro­longed cold tem­per­a­tures ar­rive the dan­ger pe­riod is over.

“Birds can use help this time of year,” said Ross Hall, a re­tired wildlife bi­ol­o­gist who lives in Bi­ble Hill. “One of the sta­ples is black oil sun­flower seeds, which are en­joyed by most birds.

“Some birds, like mourn­ing doves and pi­geons, like cracked corn.

“We feed a mix­ture of seeds, and quite a few birds show up.”

He finds blue jays are very fond of bro­ken peanuts and car­di­nals are drawn to saf­flower seeds. His wife, Linda, makes a suet mix­ture for the birds dur­ing the win­ter.

Tri­chomono­sis is picked up through saliva and fe­ces of in­fected birds. It is of­ten found in wet seeds, bird baths, and pud­dles. Risk of trans­mis­sion in­creases at feed­ers be­cause birds come to­gether in un­nat­u­rally close quar­ters.

The dis­ease showed up in many birds dur­ing the sum­mer of 2017, but there were fewer cases in 2018. It does not spread to hu­mans or pets such as cats and dogs.

“As things warm up in April, peo­ple should be care­ful to keep ar­eas where birds are com­ing, es­pe­cially clean,” said Hall. “Even in win­ter, it’s a good idea to clean things off.”


A car­di­nal stops by a bird feeder in Bi­ble Hill for a bite to eat on a snowy day.

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