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Easy Ways to Make Your Backyard Friendly for Canadian Birds

From March to September, bring birdsong and beautiful plumage to the outdoor spaces around your home.

Gray Jay PerchingiStock

More than 450 bird species call Canada home for at least part of the year. And from March to September, you’ll find the widest range of birds enjoying the country’s diverse landscapes. Want to make the most of the warm spring and summer months? Ensure your backyard is bird friendly (and safe!) with the help of Peavey Mart.

How to attract birds to your backyard

If you’re hoping to make your outdoor space a friendly oasis for bird species in your region, there are several steps you can take:

  • Garden with native plants: Birds use trees, shrubs, grasses and other plants as food sources, nesting platforms and nesting materials. To ensure your backyard is a suitable environment for birds, opt for a variety of bird-friendly plants that are native to your area—especially ones that provide fruit and seeds.

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  • Install a bird bath: Birds are attracted to clean water. Place a bird bath or water receptable in your backyard in an area that’s close to perches for drying off, as well as coverage from predators. Clean it weekly.

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  • Hang multiple feeders: To attract multiple bird species, hang different types of feeders around your property. Hummingbirds require a feeder that can house a sugar solution. Sparrows like platform feeders and won’t approach a tube. Place your feeders in areas that are protected from the wind and choose designs that keep the food dry and are easy to clean.

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  • Feed responsibly: Avoid giving birds bread, meat, salted seeds and nuts, dog or cat food and old (potentially rancid) birdseed. Instead, choose high-quality feed that contains ingredients like sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, nyjer seeds and peanuts.

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  • Sprinkle nest boxes around your property: Bird houses provide a safe place for nesting and roosting. Choose a house or nest box that opens so you can clean it out each season. The size of the entrance hole, hanging height and proper location will depend on the species you hope to attract. Ideally, these boxes should be placed outside by mid-March.

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How to make your backyard safer for birds

There are two main ways to turn your backyard into a safe habitat:

Canadian bird species to watch for

The types of birds you’ll see will vary depending on where you live, but here are a few worth keeping an eye out for:

  • Canada Jay: In 2016, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society declared the Canada jay (formerly known as the grey jay or Whisky Jack) the top choice for Canada’s national bird based on nearly 50,000 votes. A grey bird with a white forehead and black cap, it’s found in every province and territory (albeit in the northern or high-elevation boreal forests) and is incredibly friendly and curious.
  • Cedar waxwing: A beautiful songbird with a black mask, tan head and breast, and yellow belly, cedar waxwings are especially attracted to fruiting trees and shrubs. They’re found across all provinces, as well as the southern edges of the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
  • Song sparrow: There are at least 24 subspecies that have different food preferences, so do a little research to discover which song sparrows live in your region. They enjoy seed sprinkled on the ground or platform feeder and love bushes for nesting.
  • Hummingbird: Five hummingbird species can be spotted in Canada: ruby-throated (from Alberta to the east coast), Anna’s (around the west coast), black-chinned (in southern Alberta and B.C.), rufous (B.C.) and Calliope (Alberta and B.C.). They’re attracted to bright red flowers and feeders.

When it comes to backyard birding, Peavey Mart has you covered. Find all your birding essentials, premium birdseed and lawn and garden supplies at

  • Andrea Karr Author