Tips to Attract and Care for Hummingbirds


We are well into summer and well into the hummingbird season. Hopefully by now you have a few buzzing by your feeders.

Hummingbirds are extremely loyal to reliable feeding sites so chances are if a hummingbird that feeds in your backyard one year, they will more than likely return to feed the next year. If you haven’t had much luck attracting them in the past, here are a few tips to get more hummingbirds to your yard or garden this year:

To attract hummingbirds the most important factors are: shelter, space and food.

The male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is very territorial, try putting out more than one feeder to give the birds some space to feed.

Keep your hummingbird feeders clean and keep the nectar fresh. Hummingbirds are very sensitive to fermented nectar and will stay clear of any nectar that has gone bad. Change the sugar-water solution often and throw away any leftover liquid each time the feeder is cleaned. Don't top off partially filled feeders or re-fill dirty, empty feeders.

To help keep your feeders clean, start by choosing the right feeder. The easier a hummingbird feeder is to clean, the more likely it will be cleaned properly and regularly. When selecting among feeder styles, note how easy each type is to take apart and get to all of the surfaces. Many are even dishwasher safe.

Red is a very effective colour for attracting humming birds. It is easily for the hummingbirds to spot the colour red from high up in the sky when they are searching for a food source. Try tieing large red bows to some of your trees early in the spring. This acts as a very effective tool to attract hummingbirds from a distance.

Finally, on social media we see videos of hummingbirds being fed by hand or being led into homes. These beautiful, wild creatures should be given proper space and left in the wild. Enjoy them from a respectful distance to keep them safe and to encourage them to return year after year.

Looking for hummingbird supplies? Check out our hummingbird section for great options!


Salt Spring Island lays claim to unofficial title of ‘electric car capital of Canada’

With 111 electric cars on the island, Salt Spring residents are leading the electric car revolution in Canada

Karin Larsen, Jun 19, 2017 – CBC News


Even the dogs on Saltspring Island prefer electric cars. (Bernadette and Peter McAllister)

In most places the electric car revolution is still a long-term dream — but not on Salt Spring Island.

There, local residents have taken to emission-cutting EVs (electric vehicles) in such a big way that one person believes the island can now lay claim to the title “electric car capital of Canada.”

“We drink a lot of coffee here and one day we were sitting around trying to count the [EVs]. Later it became let’s count the red [Nissan] Leafs,” said Jim Standen, Salt Spring’s self-proclaimed electric car registrar.

“So I created a database… and one thing led to another and now we’re at 111 electric cars, when statistically in Canada we should only have five.”


Sheri and Jim Standen own one of the 111 electric cars on Saltspring. (Jim Standen)

EV’s are still a bit of a rarity on Canadian roads but Standen says on Salt Spring new ones appear weekly, making the clean and quiet island even cleaner and quieter.

He thinks that’s part of the motivation, believing there’s nothing like living on an island to make someone aware of their environmental footprint.

“If you live on an island you get a little more sensitive to noise, pollution and….garbage,” he said. “It’s pretty easy to hide those things in the city.”


Matteo Hermani and Richard MacKinnon of Country Grocer show off the public charging station installed outside their store. (Jim Standen)

The greater community has jumped on the EV movement as well. Transitions Salt Spring, a non-profit focused on environmental sustainability, has helped install seven public charging station. Another 20 are in the planning stage.

Salt Spring’s EV explosion has even caught the eye of EV advocate Kent Rathwell, the former Saskatchewan farmer who built the world’s longest “green highway” by installing charging stations along the 10,000 kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway.


Kent Rathwell’s company Sun Country Highways installed EV chargers across the country. (Hilary Duff/CBC)

Rathwell spoke on Salt Spring a few weeks ago and was so taken with the island’s advances that he donated 20 kilogram bags of bird seed and fertilizer to each EV owner as a thank you.

“With Salt Spring there are just a lot of people who care about the environment and put their money where their mouth is,” he said.

“And to commit to a cause that actually benefits you, saves money and helps the environment while incentivizing other people is really awesome.”

Last year EVs made up only .48 per cent of all new car sales in Canada, but Standen believes it’s only a matter of time before the majority of new car buyers make the choice to switch from filling up to plugging in.

“As time goes on the price of the cars is going down and the distance they can go is increasing quite dramatically,” he said.

“They’re only going to get more popular.”

Read the full article at CBC News


Someone Had to Blink


Canadian Wildlife Staff, January 1, 2015 – Canadian Wildlife
Photo by Matt Smith

Here’s a chicken and egg conundrum: which comes first, electric cars or charging networks to support them? Kent Rathwell just powered through that problem.

you happen to be driving through Crossfield, Alta., about 50 kilometres north of Calgary, take a moment and swing past the local Petro-Canada station. You’ll see the usual stuff — a large asphalt apron, bays and gas pumps. If you look closely, you’ll also notice a charger for electric cars. If you happen to be driving one, you’ll be able to power up, right there in the heart of Canada’s oil industry. For free.

Thank Kent Rathwell, president and founder of Sun Country Highway, for the boost. While you’re at it, also thank him for more than 1,000 charging stations his outfit has installed across the country, making an emissions-free drive from coast to coast not merely possible, but actually feasible.

When it comes to electric vehicle charging networks, “Canada is a leader by a long shot,” says Rathwell, a Saskatoon-based entrepreneur who is also CEO of Sun Country Farms, a birdseedmaking firm that is Saskatchewan’s first emissions-free manufacturer. “There is no other electric-vehicle infrastructure like this in the world.”

Rathwell can make that claim by many measures. For starters, Sun Country’s charger network is the longest of its kind in the world. It also proves that electric cars can operate — and operate well — in cold and sometimes rugged environments.

Its most remarkable feature, however, is how it has been built: by individuals who share Rathwell’s vision and joined his effort, one charger at a time. Sun Country Highway provides the chargers — sometimes for free, sometimes at fee for installation, sometimes through sponsorships — to whoever wants them, be they restaurants, hotels, parking lots, retail stores, even gas stations. It’s then up to the owners of the charging stations to decide how to use them. Some may offer the service to customers, others may give it away because, well, there’s a lot to like about electric cars.

For Rathwell, grassroots development of the network has been critical to its success. Had the job been left to top-down government management, as infrastructure projects usually are, development would have been larger, slower and more complicated. With a bottom-up approach, the network has instead grown organically and proved itself. Thus, future investment, public or private, can be more nimble, targeted and likely to succeed.

More important, though, the highway breaks through a major challenge in the broader adoption of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles “have always been around in one shape or form, but not to a big degree,” Rathwell says. “Why would anyone build an electric vehicles if there were no place to charge them? And why would you put chargers out there if there were no electric vehicles? Somebody had to blink.”

And so, Rathwell and his group blinked, and continue to do so. The Sun Country Highway — celebrated in 2013 and 2014 with the cross-country E-Mazing Race events — is expanding rapidly, and Rathwell is developing business plans to make its ongoing work economically self-sustaining. As for the network itself, it is making inroads in the U.S., especially along the Pacific Coast. In November, Sun Country also announced a partnership to bring its model to Iceland.

For Rathwell, that’s all good news for the future of electric transportation. More importantly, though, he sees it as a message of hope. “This was built out by average people, small business and families,” he says. “If average people can do this, what else can they do?”

Read more at Canadian Wildlife