Drawn to Quebec: Wild birds: To feed or not to feed?

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Photo: Illustration © Bethann G. Merkle, 2015

Gregarious birds like Black-capped chickadees are common at bird feeders. They may even take their favourite food - black-oil sunflower seeds, preferred for their protein, fat, and strong hulls - directly from your hand.

If hope really is "the thing with feathers" as Emily Dickinson said, then Canada is aflutter with optimists this time of year. For wild-bird enthusiasts and ornithologists alike, bird watching is much more than optimism.