Okay, so I don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers but I was recently feathergasted by an article I read that claimed backyard bird feeders should be banned. The implication was that having feeders in your back yard interferes with the instinctive way birds forage for food and that birds are more prone to hit a window and die, not to mention that they may fight one another for perching rights. I don’t know what bird brain came up with this but I simply don’t swallow it. Being retired allows me to be as free as a bird to observe the many species of birds at feeders I’ve placed in my backyard. In fact, with my bird’s eye view I have witnessed the workings of nature and humans in unison, making my heart take flight. I may be going out on a limb here but as an educator with a minor in environmental studies, I can’t be one who just flew the coop in this matter, rather, I need to call fowl play, and give my opinion.
So, here goes. Yes, one does need to be careful where a bird feeder is placed. Obviously, not near a window just so you can have your own bird’s eye view. You will increase the chances of a bird hitting the window and dying. Also, don’t think one feeder will suffice, as this may very well lead to fighting for perching and pecking rights, although they do this in nature all the time when the food supply becomes scarce through the Winter. As for foraging, the feeders actually promote it. All the shells and seeds that fall to the ground become an ideal smorgasbord for birds and is not unlike the foraging that goes on under trees and shrubs throughout the year. The article also made the claim that bird feeders are death traps for birds by their very (un) nature because the birds develop a dependency on them, losing their ability to find food for themselves. What a bunch of bird crap!
The feeders in my backyard, which is on a green belt, stand among the trees and foliage. Throughout the Winter I have watched the birds actually take turns on the perches, as though they have a pecking order, foraging below and showing up to feed at what seems to be scheduled times, in small flocks and of varied species. Yes, they do become dependent upon the feeders in the Winter and I am careful to keep them continually cleaned and supplied according to demand. But, that’s the whole point. The Winter months are brutal for birds and often lead to many deaths due in large part to lack of food. I believe the feeders contribute to supporting and promoting healthy populations of birds.
During the Winter months I also have seed combined with suet feeders that the woodpeckers, finches, stellar jays and many other species share. Suet helps to increase fat stores in birds giving them a higher rate of survival from the cold. These feeders are less frequented now that Spring has arrived which to me, just proves that Mother Nature rules and that it is time to remove them. Birds have been given the instinctive ability to recognize more than one food source. Did I mention insects? Yep, that’s right. It’s like halibut season is to me. Why eat chicken again when I can have halibut?
I could have a hen party going on and on about this topic, but really; I’m like a bird on a wire, I don’t give a flying feather what anyone else thinks. Seriously, I don’t give a hoot! You may think of me as an odd bird but it’s simply my opinion and I must add that I believe back yard bird feeders are simply, FOR the birds ;>
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If you have a smart phone get the Audubon Bird app. It is AWESOME! Has the usual pics and ranges but also clips of bird calls etc