You know spring is most here when Preferred Perch store owner, Sherrie Versluis comes on the air to talk about our feathered friends. We have been hearing and seeing flocks of geese honking overhead and Sherrie says the puffy little dark-eyed juncos are back. This is a pretty little grey bird with a white breast and a light-coloured beak. It will be stopping by on its way to nesting grounds in the Boreal forest. They are one of the earliest songbirds to arrive and also one of the first to leave in fall.
Sherrie has already welcomed some robins back to the feeding stations in her yard. Unlike many of us who were cowed by the heavy snowfall, Sherrie did not give up on the birds all winter. She trudged through the deepening snow in her big boots and made sure, every day, that her birds got all the special treats she knows they love.
In Sherri’s world that means about 800 lbs. of shelled sunflower seeds plus a list of other specialty treats, including dozens of suet blocks.
For the early bird robins, Sherrie suggests providing a bonus of some raisins which are even better loved when plumped up in water overnight. Feed your Robins on a platform of some sort as they are larger birds and don’t perch well on feeders.
Suet blocks are beloved by woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, jays, and starlings, so put some of those up, too. And since cardinals are apparently being seeing all over the city, [particularly where there are rivers, the suet is a treat for them and for early wrens, too. Sherrie cautions once again against using lard or bacon grease for the birds. Suet is a hard fat that is digestible for birds.
We also talked about bird intelligence. Sherrie recounts the heartwarming story of the nesting bluebird and a friend of hers. She notes that crows mourn their dead and she once heard about a group of wild turkeys who found a dead cat on the road. They formed a circle around it and marched in respect for several minutes before moving on. See if for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KLt81iVEgo
Sherri asked us to play to love somebody by the Bee Gees and her favourite, Rivers of Babylon with Boney M.