Sudbury·Audio

Your bird questions answered on Morning North

CBC Sudbury's Morning North radio program hosted a backyard phone-in Monday morning to talk all about birds.
CBC Sudbury Morning North radio show host Markus Schwabe broadcast the June 22 program from his backyard. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

CBC Sudbury's Morning North radio program hosted a backyard phone-in Monday morning to talk all about birds.

"This being the first Monday of the summer, I decided to take Morning North out of my basement and set up my microphone out here on my back deck," show host Markus Schwabe said.

He invited listeners to call in with their questions for Chris Blomme, a biologist at Laurentian University and a member of the Sudbury Ornithological Society. Here are a few of the questions Blomme answered:

Q: Are there there more birds around this year?

A: In terms of monitoring numbers of birds, if their habitat is increased, if your backyard has a lot of plants leafing out, a lot of insect potential, you will get some more birds. And you become more aware of [the birds] if you start looking for them.

When ducks spend time on a rooftop, they are often scoping out the area for possible predators. (Markus Schwabe/CBC Sudbury)

Q: Why is there a duck on my neighbour's roof?

A: I've heard this story a few times in the last year or two. I think that they are probably are checking out the neighborhood before they actually land where they want to go. Because if you think about it, if a duck just drops into somebody's backyard, not really being aware whether they have a dog or a cat or some other kind of natural predator, there's good potential for not coming back out of there.

Q: Why is a male bluebird insisting on beating himself up against the windows? What would explain this behaviour?

A: I've heard of this behaviour more commonly with the American Robin, but the eastern Bluebird is a thrush as well. It's probably seeing its own reflection on the glass itself, and you might have some vegetation nearby that's giving a reflection on the window. It is highly likely it's seeing a competitive male and fighting for the property territory. To try and curtail that behaviour, it's recommended people put a coloured sheet on the glass on the inside so that the bird doesn't see those reflections. I've also recommended people hang a CD or a DVD on the inside on nylon cord, just a little bit in from the window. It reflects light and it causes a motion [from the movement of air in the room] which helps distract the bird from actually hitting the glass.

Sudbury ornithologist Chris Blomme is a biologist at Laurentian University and a member of the Sudbury Ornithological Society. (Peter Williams / CBC)

Q: We found a nest of phoebe babies that appear to be dead. Should I remove the nest?

A: If you think that the young have perished — maybe because the adult is dead or a crow has gone in and removed the young from the from the nest — perhaps you could use a mirror on a stick and take a look at what actually is inside. If they are dead young, you can remove the nest if it's a nuisance. And hopefully the birds will make a nest somewhere else. If there are dead birds in the nest they will not go back to that nest.

Listen to the entire interview for more questions answered:

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