The Birds and the Bees!

Don’t you just love the sound of birdsong?  I enjoy working with my windows open, and listening to the birds, or simply pottering in the garden while enjoying their songs.

I recently heard about a hazard to our feathered friends – open pipes and dryer vents. Once inside a pipe or vent, a bird may become entrapped with not enough room to open its wings to fly out. I’ve seen open pipes on the ground or at gates in the country, but it didn’t occur to me that many (or most) of us have open vents on the sides of our houses.

So one sunny day, out I went to investigate my dryer and hood range vents – sure enough, they were uncovered! Open for any bird to build a nest; creating a hazard for the nestlings, as well as a fire hazard to us all.  My own house confirms my suspicion that there’s probably a problem of open vents on all older homes.

Photo: Spinner Vent

Photo: Spinner Vent

So I set to it with wire snips, and a bunch of narrow gauge chicken wire (left over from my efforts to prevent squirrels and mice from burrowing under my low decking).

I was able to ‘fold’ the wire around the vent, to make sure it was snug. These wire methods seem to be effective, since the wire is still covering the dryer and range hood vents, despite some fierce wind storms!

On the same day, I also installed two types of bee hotels.  One was a free-standing bee hotel which an EALT volunteer hand-made. It was simply a tree branch with holes of various diameters bored in it, to enable the various species of pollinators to find tubes sized to their preference.  The other was a commercial variety, called a pollinator nest, sold at various stores in Edmonton.

I wanted to compare these two types of bee hotel.  I know I’ll have to be patient, as I installed these quite late in the season – likely after the egg-laying period for most pollinating insects. And of course, the solitary bees and other pollinators need to find these new homes. So it may be next season before I find the tubes capped by the pollinators.

But whatever happens, I know I’ve done my best for the birds and the bees in my yard this year!

By Pam Wight, EALT's Executive Director