Do your part
Why be Bird Friendly?
Birds are a critical component of the biodiversity of any ecosystem. They are important members of food webs, eating insects, seeds and nectar. They also help plants (and us) by controlling insect pests. Encouraging birds in your garden by providing nest boxes for them can help keep the mosquito population down. Some birds, such as hummingbirds, aid in pollination and many berry-eating birds assist in seed dispersal. Many birds get most of their food from plants while others eat rodents, insects and earthworms. Birds and bird eggs are also food for other birds and animals, such as raccoons and snakes. We can support bird habitat in home gardens or community spaces by providing appropriate food, shelter, nesting sites and water.
Keep our birds safe
Globally, the diversity of birds across landscapes is at risk due to climate change and human-induced land-use change. The top threats to birds in cities include domestic cats, window collisions and loss of habitat. In Canada, the 1994 Migratory Birds Convention Act is the federal law enacted to protect and conserve migratory bird populations. In British Columbia, birds are protected provincially by the Wildlife Act.
Avoid tree work during the nesting season
It is illegal to damage an active bird nest or harm the eggs of nestlings according to federal and provincial law in Canada. These regulations apply whether the trees are on public or private property. Our Trees, Views and Landscapes Bylaw does not permit tree work on municipal trees from March 26th - August 16th. Please delay tree work during the nesting season (mid-March – mid-August), when eggs and nestlings are at their most vulnerable.
Be a Bird Friendly gardener
For a Bird Friendly garden, choose plants that provide groundcover, berries and soft nesting material, and can grow plants that produce blooms of varying sizes and colours to encourage a variety of insects, which in turn benefits birds.
Indigenous plants are excellent choices: they provide food, shelter from predators and nesting materials- and sites. Visit the Lions Bay Native Plant Garden on Lions Bay Avenue (opposite Cloudview) for inspiration!
For birds, a messy garden is best – keep leaves on the ground for the winter where insects may hide, thus providing food for many birds and also the next generation of pollinators in the spring.
Check for nests when trimming or removing greenery where ground nesters make their homes in the spring/summer.
Make your windows and glass deck panels visible to birds
It is estimated that about 1.25 billion birds, or 10% of the bird population of North America, are killed each year by colliding with windows. Birds are easily confused by windows and their reflections of trees and plants. Situate bird feeders within 3 feet of your windows or more than 30 feet away. If a bird hits your window within 3 feet, they will likely not be going fast enough to hurt themselves. Bird Friendly films or decals that make windows visible to bird are also effective in reducing such collisions. These are available from the BC SPCA, from Wildbirds Unlimited in North Vancouver, who also have more info about making your windows Bird Friendly on their website, and from Lee Valley Tools.
Reduce or eliminate outdoor lights
Lions Bay has no streetlights, which is good for migrating birds! Given that most songbirds migrate at night, it’s no surprise that light pollution is a significant contributor to the harm of these birds. In addition to disrupting circadian rhythms, excessive artificial light at night (ALAN) can also disorient birds during migration. Bright lights at night on large buildings attract birds in the same way that bright porch lights attract moths, which can result in fatal collisions. Read more here
Five simple steps you can take to have a big impact on birds:
Direct all lighting downward. Place lights to illuminate the floor or ground and use lighting shields to prevent shining into the sky.
Turn off lights by midnight during bird migration seasons (April-May and August-September). It is particularly important to take these measures as early in the evening as possible, as migrants begin their nocturnal migrations at dusk during spring and fall migration periods.
Reduce the amount of light outside your home or place of business. Turn off all non-essential nighttime lights. For essential lights, such as security lighting, use timers or motion detectors to keep usage to a minimum. And always use the minimum wattage necessary for the task at hand.
Change the color of your lights from cool to warm. Studies suggest that green and blue light attracts more nocturnally migrating birds than red, orange, or yellow light. Use light bulbs that emit warm lighting to minimize disturbance to birds.
Share the message to “dim the lights for birds at night.” Speak to family and friends and share these messages through social media and other outlets to increase awareness of this important issue.
Ditch the pesticides and rodenticides!
Avoiding pesticides and poisons is another way that we can make Lions Bay more Bird Friendly. For example, rat poisons will kill raptors, such as owls, hawks and eagles if they consume poisoned dead rodents. Weed killers and insecticides can be lethal to songbirds. Using pesticides for cosmetic purposes is not permitted in Lions Bay. The Pesticide Control Bylaw provides a list of permitted pesticides and the Province has banned rodenticides (rat poison), which may only be used by certified pest control operators under specific conditions to keep wildlife safe.
Slow down to protect our birds and other wildlife
Many animals navigate through roads and urban areas when travelling between patches of habitat to find food, mates and shelter. Every year, thousands of animals, including birds, are killed on our roads. The best thing you can do is slow down and be on the lookout for them. Birds are particularly active at dawn and dusk.
On behalf of our birds, thank you for being Bird Friendly!
Got questions about birds or photos to share? Email us.