We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
5468 Dundas Street West
Toronto (Etobicoke), ON M9B 6E3
Phone: (416) 233-3558
Fax: (416) 233-3293
Email: Send Message
Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Backyard bird feeding continues to grow as a hobby and one of the fastest growing areas of interest is summer bird feeding. Many people have realized that they can enjoy their birds all year long. It’s a lot of fun to watch the birds from the warmth of your home during the cold months but it is equally, if not more, engaging to watch your birds from your deck or patio during the hot months. Not only are you watching but you get to hear them and possibly interact directly with your birds. The birds benefit from this relationship in many ways and one of the main benefits is the increased source of nutrition.
• Young birds need calcium, protein and fat among other nutrients while growing.
• Most dietary calcium in young birds is used for the formation of skeletal (bone) production.
• Calcium is the most prevalent mineral in the body and is required in the diet in greater amounts than any other mineral.
• Calcium is the most challenging mineral because of the extreme changes in periods of demand and because many foods are likely to be deficient in calcium.
• If given a choice between two foods that are identical in every respect except calcium level, young birds and laying females will select a calcium-adequate food more frequently than a deficient one.
• Birds find calcium in their natural foods like seeds, snail shells and other exoskeletons of insects, egg shells (e.g. from other earlier-nesting birds), mortar picked off of buildings, bones (e.g. often fish bones), ashes, soil (if it is rich in calcium) and other sources.
• Birds are able to easily digest and use the calcium from calcium carbonate, limestone, oyster shell, and calcium phosphates.
Our Calcium Added Products
• No-Mess NM CD seed blend (the CD stands for calcium carbonate)
• Nesting Seed Blend
• PB&J No-Melt Suet dough cake and cylinder
• Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter Bits
• Protein requirements, from amino acids, are highest at hatching and until adult size and weight is achieved.
• Protein is essential for growing strong feathers.
• Fats are essential for feather coloration.
• Every young bird needs extra proteins to grow strong feathers for proper flight and effective insulation. They need extra fats for energy to grow feathers and provide proper colouration to best attract a mate when they are mature.
• A diet low in proteins and fats may cause feathers to be improperly coloured or form defectively such as being frayed or curved. If their colours are duller, birds may have trouble attracting a mate. If the feathers are defective, it could seriously hinder their flying or insulation abilities.*
• Feathers are over 90% protein, primarily keratins.
• A bird’s feathers contain 25% of the total protein found within its entire body.
• It takes extra energy to grow feathers and also the right building blocks to grow them. The main ingredients in growing feathers are amino acids (protein) and lipids (fats). Birds will eat more of their daily diet and/or seek out foods high in protein and fat to satisfy both the extra energy requirements and the needed building blocks.
• Lipids are substances such as a fat, oil or wax (usually from tree fruits). Dietary lipids supply energy, essential fatty acids and pigments for birds.
• Like pigment dyes are used to colour our clothes, colours in feathers come from different pigments found in lipids.
• Red, orange, and yellows to violet colors = Carotenoid pigments
• Black, brown, gray and related tints = Melanin and porphyrin pigments
• Blue and white colors = Not created by pigments but by reflections of light off the structural elements of a feather
• Greens = Carotenoid and melanin pigments combined with structural feather elements
• In many bird species, carotenoids are required for breeding success...poorly coloured birds are less likely to breed. Carotenoids help communicate reproductive fitness to prospective mates by providing a vibrant and bright plumage...a sign of being successful at obtaining both a sufficient quality and quantity of food.
• The more colour and more brightly coloured a male House Finch the greater the likelihood of attracting a mate.
• A male Red-winged Blackbird’s dominance depends on his bright red shoulder epaulettes being bigger than another male’s. The larger the red epaulet patch, the better he can defend a territory and attract multiple mates.
Our Top Recommended Foods For Birds To Meet Their Protein And Fat Needs Are:
• Seed Blends: No-Mess LM, No-Mess NM CD, Choice, Supreme, Nesting Blend
• Seeds: Peanuts, Nyjer, Sunflower Chips
• Other Foods: Mealworms, Seed Cylinders and No-Melt Suet Doughs
Our Summer Bird Food Sale is on now until July 23, 2017. This is the perfect opportunity to save some money and continue your summer bird feeding or if you have not tried summer feeding, why not try it this summer. Come in and see us and one of our Certified Bird Feeding Specialists can help you discover a summer refuge in your own backyard!
*Lynda and I see the results of a lack of sufficient protein and fat in a birds diet when we are monitoring bird migration through bird banding at the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station. Part of our process is to check the age of a bird and a “fault bar” in the feathers is one indicator of a young bird. A fault bar is easily seen across a section of feathers, typically across the tail feathers but will show in the primary and secondary wing feathers, as a lighter colour than the rest of the feather. The fault bar represents a period of time the bird did not get enough protein or fat in its diet to grow the feathers properly. Often the feathers at the fault bar are brittle and can break off easily.
Fault Bar in Tail Feathers
Fault Bar in Wing Feathers
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