Trichomonosis Update - October 2, 2017

After almost 3 1/2 months of amazing support from feeder watchers, who voluntarily dismantled their feeding stations, it looks like we are closing in on the end of this very serious and widespread outbreak.
I want to thank Fiep de Bie of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative for her helpful updates, without which we would have been lost. The personnel at the CWHC has been very supportive, giving much needed expertise.
Here is where we are now...Purple Finches (the most impacted species) are beginning to move South and out of our area. As we have discussed many times, warm weather allows this parasite to thrive and there are still a few dead and dying birds being found. Feeding seed-eating birds in Summer has no biological benefit to the birds but in winter, birds can use a bit of added help to survive.
Our feeling is that we should be able to take a cautious approach to feeding now that October is upon us. Our suggestions would be to limit yourself to one or two feeders, avoid platform feeders, ground feeding, larger silo feeders or the full complement of feeders until it freezes. If you must put two or more feeders out, space them farther apart to avoid concentrating the birds. Keep things dry and clean and please report any unusual sickness. If you do notice sickness, you may have a source of the parasite nearby and best to take things in again and wait until it freezes.
We will be researching options before next Spring to find out if there are some things that people can do to lessen the negative impact from Summertime bird feeding. We will post any findings and will rely on expertise from the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative and European and US partners to help with this.

Thank all those who helped this Summer. I am sure the extraordinary measures that we took lessened the impact on our songbirds.e Species at Risk Act (SARA) Public Registry


The Species at Risk Act

The Species at Risk Act (SARA) is a bill passed in 2002 mandating the Canadian government to "prevent wildlife species from becoming extinct and secure the necessary actions for their recovery. It provides for the legal protection of wildlife species and the conservation of their biological diversity." In accordance with SARA is a public registry which is taking comments on the recovery strategies for Canada Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Common Nighthawk, all of which breed in Nova Scotia. Public consultation will be accepted until May 11 and at the top there is a link to submit your comments under 'Get Involved'.


Bird-friendly Coffee


How does the coffee you drink impact many of the songbird species you see and hear in the spring and summer in Nova Scotia? Many of these bird species migrate thousands of kilometres every fall to their wintering locales in Central and South America where they vie for habitat amongst the coffee plantations. Some coffee is grown in full sun, lacking native vegetation and sprayed with pesticides to keep pests under control. Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center Certified Bird Friendly® coffee is grown in a more mature forest habitat with several levels of vegetation that allow coffee to grow in shade underneath the canopy, which allows the birds to act as a natural form of pest control, reducing the need for pesticide use. This form of coffee growing means more habitat for the birds. Certified Bird Friendly® coffee can be purchased online from which ships to Nova Scotia. Their coffees also hold several other certifications, such as certified organic, fair trade, and rainforest alliance certified. The Nova Scotia Bird Society is hoping that local businesses will soon have this product available for sale to reach a wider audience, save the shipping cost, and demonstrate that Nova Scotians care for our birds, and don't have to compromise that for great coffee!


The Problem with Lead


Lead shot and rifle ammunition is widely used in hunting upland game, deer, moose and most other species except waterfowl. Lead sinkers are still used for fishing. Lead poisoning has been documented in over 130 species worldwide, including humans.

Every year at CWRC we receive eagles that are poisoned by lead, usually during or just after hunting season. The main reason birds like eagles will get lead poisoning is due to the behaviour of lead ammunition when it strikes an animal like a deer. Lead ammunition can fragment into hundreds of pieces, and can be found 18 inches or more from the wound channel. This presents risk of lead ingestion to both scavenging species and to humans eating meat harvested with lead. Read more


Update from DNR


Maritimes SwiftWatch


Most summer nights, an amazing natural phenomenon takes place in Maritime towns – and in cities across much of eastern North America. It starts with just a few birds wheeling in the evening sky, chattering to one another. Then more congregate in an ever-increasing cloud of noise and motion. Suddenly, a solitary bird drops into the chimney below, and then another, and another. The little birds keep vanishing down the chimney until darkness falls and they have all disappeared into its depths. The mysterious birds are aptly named Chimney Swifts. People lucky enough to witness huge flocks of Chimney Swifts at communal roosts may not realize that this species is declining at a disturbing rate. If nothing is done, these swifts may soon disappear from our skies forever.

Bird Studies Canada’s Maritimes SwiftWatch is a citizen-science monitoring and conservation program that brings together volunteers and community groups to act as stewards for Chimney Swifts and their habitat. Maritimes SwiftWatch also works with partners to develop education and outreach tools and build community awareness and support for Chimney Swift conservation. For the location of roosts, how to participate, or more information, please visit or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Cats and Our Environment


Cats make wonderful pets for many people. They are though, extraordinarily well adapted for hunting and we all realize that free-roaming and feral cats have an negative impact on our native wildlife, especially birds. The Nova Scotia Bird Society recognizes that this is a human problem and not simply a cat problem. Cats are doing only what they are meant to do instinctively when placed in an outdoor environment. As humans we have put them there, so as humans we have the ability to correct that.

Studies show cats are responsible for millions of bird deaths a year in Canada which is hard to argue, as we have in Canada, millions of free-roaming cats in the environment that hunt daily.

The Nova Scotia Bird Society has a position statement regarding Cats and work with all groups to seek ways of providing a healthier environment for our native wildlife and also encourage people to act responsibly while keeping their pets longer and safer indoors.

Position Statement

The Nova Scotia Bird Society (NSBS) recognizes free-roaming cats as a serious threat to wild birds. We encourage our members as well as the public at large to keep cats indoors or in outdoor enclosures for the safety of birds, other small animals and for the health and safety of their cats. We support education of cat owners and the public to help reduce the impact of free-roaming cats on native wildlife and collaborate with all groups working to find solutions to this problem.