Nature from a different perspective
In collaboration with Julie Audet, wildlife photographer.
The seclusion that’s required of us in these exceptional times of pandemic leads us adapt our habits in many ways, especially as regards our relationship with nature. Although difficult, it's nevertheless an upheaval from which we can draw much that’s positive despite everything, since unbeknownst to us, we are being led to reconnect with what’s essential, and even to change our perspectives. It vividly reminds us of the many privileges we all have in "normal" times, including the privilege of having access to nature.
Take the time to stop, look, listen, feel, and touch! This is a great way to rediscover our daily environment in its greatest simplicity, bringing a new and different perspective from the comfort of our own home.
3 easy tricks to protect birds
- During the breeding season, some more territorial birds will have the instinct to compete with their own reflection in your windows by sitting on the ledges and playing the proud fighter. For a few days, cover "attacked" windows from the outside with cardboard or newspaper to hide the reflections.
- To avoid collisions with windows, which are a major source of concussion and, unfortunately, death, decorate them with stickers or paint patterns on them. It's a good time for rainbows, so spoil yourself!
- Cats are a major threat of predation, so be aware that there are bird collars that you can have them wear outside. Bells on their collars are another alternative.
5 steps to living well with wildlife
- Use natural insecticides for your plants and gardens. There are many easy do-it-yourself recipes on the web.
- Protect your bulbs from rodents by using ground cayenne pepper, unground black pepper, garlic, onion, ground blood meal, or dog or cat hair.
- Conserve your seedlings by protecting them with wire mesh or mosquito netting.
- Cover the base of trees with a plastic sheath or wire mesh.
- Use secured containers for garbage and composting that cannot tip over and have lids that are impervious to those clever little four-legged friends.
Birds are easily observable from home. There are several ways to attract them, the feeder being the most popular. To choose the right type of feeder and seeds to offer, you’ll need to do some research beforehand based on the following criteria: the environment where you live; the type of birds found therein; the species you wish to attract; and the space you have available. Summer bird baths and nest boxes will also attract some birds, and vegetation is very important because it provides shelter, food in the case of fruit trees and, if you' re lucky, nesting opportunities galore.
The gifted grey squirrel!
Among the four species of squirrels we have in Quebec, the grey squirrel is the most commonly observed in urban areas. Unloved, it is often called a nuisance because it robs bird feeders like a bandit! Conversely, it’s also an animal with many attributes that are all too easily forgotten. The grey squirrel is a champion jumper, a seasoned acrobat, a cunning little scamp, a fine strategist, and a never-say-die champion at all times, especially when searching for food. Active year-round, the grey squirrel been able to develop a great adaptation to our harsh Quebec winters. It also plays an essential role for the environment, contributing to the regeneration of our woodlands and forests.
Spring is synonymous with the nesting period. Many species nest near homes and it’s simply extraordinary if they do so in your home! This is also a very vulnerable and energy-consuming time for these little visitors who must defend their territory relentlessly, while taking care to feed the chicks. So it is essential to observe them with the utmost respect and avoid stress and getting too close to the nest. If you have feeders, you’re already helping them a lot and you'll be able to watch them even longer. Do you have a dog? Keep the hair after grooming your pet, because some birds love to use it to build their nests!
About Julie Audet
Julie likes to share her extraordinary passion for nature and wildlife through photos and words. The unique perception of nature that she captures in her camera’s eye is both extremely personal and imbued with great sensitivity. From biology to photography, her work reveals deep values, at the origin of a very current objective: raising awareness about respect for nature.