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Should I Keep Birds From Bathing Below Freezing

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Old Sunday 10th February 2019, 18:29   #1
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Should I Keep Birds From Bathing Below Freezing

I have a heater element in my bird bath and it's freezing out. I read somewhere that you should put rocks in to try and keep birds from bathing so that their feathers don't freeze. Is that true?
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Old Sunday 10th February 2019, 19:23   #2
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Birds need fresh water to drink and also to bathe in order to keep their feathers in tip top condition regardless of weather conditions. Obviously species adapt to the habitat, whether desert, sea, mountain or jungle. I've put hot water into my bird bath when its frozen and they continue to drink and bathe as needed, mostly songbirds.
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Old Sunday 10th February 2019, 19:48   #3
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Birds need fresh water to drink and also to bathe in order to keep their feathers in tip top condition regardless of weather conditions. Obviously species adapt to the habitat, whether desert, sea, mountain or jungle. I've put hot water into my bird bath when its frozen and they continue to drink and bathe as needed, mostly songbirds.
Thanks I've been worrying about it and trying to decide what to do. But part of me assumed that birds are pretty smart and know what to do to take care of themselves. But the other part of me tends to go overboard worrying about making a negative impact without even trying.
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Old Monday 11th February 2019, 20:30   #4
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Birds need fresh water to drink and also to bathe in order to keep their feathers in tip top condition regardless of weather conditions. Obviously species adapt to the habitat, whether desert, sea, mountain or jungle. I've put hot water into my bird bath when its frozen and they continue to drink and bathe as needed, mostly songbirds.
I wouldn't put any food or water out for birds in my garden. Why is the whole bird community blind to the fact that millions of birds are dying because of feeding
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Old Monday 11th February 2019, 20:32   #5
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Thanks I've been worrying about it and trying to decide what to do. But part of me assumed that birds are pretty smart and know what to do to take care of themselves. But the other part of me tends to go overboard worrying about making a negative impact without even trying.
I think your concern is a good thing. I mentioned to the other guy on the post. Garden feeding and garden interactions are killing millions of birds. The spread of disease because of unnatural interaction/densities in gardens is causing many many new strains of disease. The source is often the actual bird feed that causes the disease which is spread by bird densities/interactions
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Old Monday 11th February 2019, 20:33   #6
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I wouldn't put any food or water out for birds in my garden. Why is the whole bird community blind to the fact that millions of birds are dying because of feeding
Ps, I would encourage the planting of native plants in order to provide a healthy food type and discourage large numbers of birds feeding from the same source BUT thats my opinion
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Old Monday 11th February 2019, 20:36   #7
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Surely the reason for bird deaths is poor hygiene - it's not the feeding/water that's being provided that causes the problem.
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Old Monday 11th February 2019, 21:20   #8
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Mark, that is part of the problem BUT the major issue is that the actual diseases, especially trichomoniasis, is considered to originate from mould on none native nuts. They are not designed for our environment and our birds have no natural immunity to the moulds. The food is the origin.

The hygiene...well you have been reading RSPB advice, which I find ridiculous. You can wash and clean all you want but if the disease is present, and passed from bird to bird through contact (especially saliva and possibly feces) then cleaning would have to be undertaken between every bird visit, and on a one in one out basis.

The RSPB know these diseases are killing millions of birds, they know food is the source, they know that the disease is spread through water, and they know that birds are carriers of the disease long before they show any signs.

Thei approach, for me, so so poor, so beyond any form of intelligent planning, I happily say that they are encouraging the deaths of millions of birds. If in doubt look at this brilliant site BTO birds trends 2017.

Try looking at greenfinches, chaffinches etc.

ps Im more than happy to discuss
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Old Monday 11th February 2019, 21:38   #9
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Surely the reason for bird deaths is poor hygiene - it's not the feeding/water that's being provided that causes the problem.
ps Mark, like most conservation groups the RSPB always ignore all the basics because they value the need of humans more than the needs of birds.
One of the key concepts for the RSPB is the human benefit of bird feeding.

I would say, plant native bushes/trees/flowers etc. Garden feeding birds do not undertake their natural role, They do not eat and spread seeds to propagate plant growth. They do not get the natural nutrition and immunity present in local/natural food supplies, Some even show genetic mutation for bird feeding..ie changed beak sizes. This is non natural, it offers the bird no benefits except survival followed by mass population loss. it offers nothing to the environment because the bird do not fulfill their role but it makes people feel happy.

what we need to work to solve the habitat issues and the issues of global warming BUT in most species the RSPB does not even recognise global warming as a factor in the mass decline of British birds. Mate, wait for a few months and you will see a huge decline in farm bird because of rapid global warming up to 2016 and then retained high temps....all the 'scientists' will blame it on farming practices. This is not the reality
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Old Monday 11th February 2019, 21:47   #10
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Welcome to Birdforum GDEM. Underwhelmed by your gentle introduction. Just 2 things.
Yes, I agree that planting natural trees, grasses,flowers and shrubs is a good thing, not just for birds.
No, farmland bird decline is not down to feeding birds, it's entirely another subject.... down to agricultural practices and been noted for some time, it's not a recent fact.
My discussion here endeth.
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 00:32   #11
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Pat, maybe you should try reading more carefully mate . I said farm birds were declining due to global warming.

I know the RSPB and BTO have been trying to blame farming practices for 30 years now. However, their analysis is flawed due to failures in scientific process. They managed to link the decline mainly to yield..with the circumstantial link to farming practices. Unfortunately, there has never been a scientific link made between farming practices and bird decline.

The obvious failure of these reports is that yield is OBVIOUSLY, VERY OBVIOUSLY, linked to climate change.You may choose to doubt this but any person who thinks plant growth is not linked to sunlight (pohtosynthesis) and water is seriously missing the point and totally misunderstanding the whole of nature.

I understand your approach though. Just agree with the RSPB because you don't understand scientific process yourself. Its a sensible approach for you but unfortunately you are putting your faith in people who have the same opinions now as they did in the 70's. This is despite the total change in the environment and the development of scientific and ecological understanding. Unfortunately, until the RSPB/BTP actually present some evidence, I would suggest it is naive to blindly believe in them...especially as the bird decline have a perfect correlation to global temperatures.

It's ok Pat, you may close the book when you fail to understand but I won't. I will be more than happy to continue educating you BUT I do request that you read more carefully. Besides getting all the science wrong you alaso failed to read my post correctly...this combination will always lead to a confused outcome for you.

thanks for the reply though. It's good to hear the same old anti science so I can calmly explain why your point is so far from the actual reality.

Your view of...all those people say it's true so it must be...well that isnt science my friend but I suspect you aren't a scientist so I don't blame you.

ps, if you can present one peice of factual evidence to back up your point you will be one step ahead of the RSPB....
thanks for setting them up, I like knocking em down
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 11:42   #12
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Welcome to Birdforum GDEM. Underwhelmed by your gentle introduction. Just 2 things.
Yes, I agree that planting natural trees, grasses,flowers and shrubs is a good thing, not just for birds.
No, farmland bird decline is not down to feeding birds, it's entirely another subject.... down to agricultural practices and been noted for some time, it's not a recent fact.
My discussion here endeth.
Pat
Pat, I find it interesting that you are allowed to insult me, a new member, seemingly because I have a greater understanding if nature than you do. However, it seems that you can get my post removed for rebuking your bad manners and your misunderstanding of the whole subject.

It doesn't change the fact that you have got the whole subject wrong because you do not seem willing to have an open mind. I suspect you would have been a flat earther, in times gone by. I suspect you would have been the type to argue against Darwins studies of evolution...especially the Galapagos finches. I believe you exhibit clear traits of those who reject science and observation for the approach of...lots of people say this, so I believe them.

I am still going to be the bigger man and will be happy to educate you on the FACTS however, I suspect that the last thing you want to discuss are the facts and science. The evidence before me suggests you prefer to bully new members into listening to your antiquated misconceptions about how nature works. It's time to bring your views into the present decade, century...lets be honest, you need to update your views to the reality of the latest millennium. Pat, you are outdated and simply wrong in what you claim..without any evidence.
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 11:43   #13
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Pat, I find it interesting that you are allowed to insult me, a new member, seemingly because I have a greater understanding if nature than you do. However, it seems that you can get my post removed for rebuking your bad manners and your misunderstanding of the whole subject.

It doesn't change the fact that you have got the whole subject wrong because you do not seem willing to have an open mind. I suspect you would have been a flat earther, in times gone by. I suspect you would have been the type to argue against Darwins studies of evolution...especially the Galapagos finches. I believe you exhibit clear traits of those who reject science and observation for the approach of...lots of people say this, so I believe them.

I am still going to be the bigger man and will be happy to educate you on the FACTS however, I suspect that the last thing you want to discuss are the facts and science. The evidence before me suggests you prefer to bully new members into listening to your antiquated misconceptions about how nature works. It's time to bring your views into the present decade, century...lets be honest, you need to update your views to the reality of the latest millennium. Pat, you are outdated and simply wrong in what you claim..without any evidence.
please note - you even admit it isn't a recent fact. In this you are 100% correct, well done. It isn't recent, it;s old hat, ad it most definitely does not even resemble fact
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 15:19   #14
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Mark, that is part of the problem BUT the major issue is that the actual diseases, especially trichomoniasis, is considered to originate from mould on none native nuts. They are not designed for our environment and our birds have no natural immunity to the moulds. The food is the origin.
You have an obvious interest trichomoniasis. It is surprising that you believe it is caused by mould. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichomonas_gallinae

It is impossible to develop an immunity to a parasite.
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 16:51   #15
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You have an obvious interest trichomoniasis. It is surprising that you believe it is caused by mould. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichomonas_gallinae

It is impossible to develop an immunity to a parasite.
Sorru Jmelper, you make a good point. However, from the reading I have undertaken in the past it seems (and I have to admit I am basing this on the science of others) that the mould from the nuts creates a toxin which affects the auto immune system of those birds affected.

Tricho is a long standing disease in various British birds but has never been responsible for mass depopulation and in the case of most birds now affected, it has never even been found. Yes, tricho is a parasite BUT the new impacts we are seeing has been linked to garden feeding birds because the toxins from mouldy nuts has weakened them to the point that they are now susceptible to the parasite. I originally got all this information from RSPB reports but they have now distanced themselves from this, probably because they are killing millions of birds by promoting bird feeding, and their response has been to feed more birds.

I will have to double check the specific species but tricho has long been evident in pidgeon or dove species. However, it has never been a mass killer. I have also read that it is actually a new form of tricho g.

Furthermore, diseases such as this do not just happen. The increased populations of garden feeding birds has created unnatural levels of interaction between birds. This in itself is a cause of disease, however the diseases in question can vary from species to species.

We have seen new strains of avian pox and salmonella in recent times too in garden feeding birds. All these are due to garden feeding, unnatural levels on interaction, and the fact that the feed provided is often none native and therefore non natural. This can have two effects 1)it can reduce the nutritional value of the food in relation to the environment they live, affecting immunity to local diseases (think nettles and dock leaves - environments provide solutions for their own problems)2) it can introduce new toxins, new diseases and new parasites to the local environment, for which the birds have no genetic immunity as the foodstuffs are unnatural and not local, therefor they have no natural role in environmental processes.

I am not being patronising here, your post was accurate but limited in scope. The whole subject is far more complex than a few lines can explain. However, it should always be clear that any food provision should be based on local, natural food supplies. The introduction of noone native seeds and nuts is basically the introduction of a potential biohazard. Many countries do not allow any foreign nuts or seeds into their country. We are importing them in their millions of tonnes and letting them slowly rot in an unsuitable environment.

if you want to understand the toxins in relation to autoimmune systems this applies to humans too. This is why we do not eat mouldy food...or at least we shouldn't do. Moulds/yeasts can release toxins. These can have a direct effect on us or can weaken us which makes us more susceptible to other diseases/illnesses.

thanks for the reply. i should have been more clear in my earlier posts but as I said it is complex and needs a stupidly long explanation like this. I didn't want to bore people.

Just for the record, garden feeding also reduces the environmental function of garden birds. They no longer fulfill their real function in terms of spreading seeds to propagate the development of local plant species.

Furthermore, if bird populations are declining, it is because the environment is unable to sustain tat population size. This could be due to the reduction in insect supply. Once you artificially increase the bird populations by providing an easy food source then you also increase the pressures on supplementary food supplies. This could be an additional reason for the reduction in insect numbers.

the only sensible action is to create/protect natural habitat where populations can be naturally supported and the function of the birds within their environment is retained.

As things stand, we are simply providing a social benefit system for birds. These simplistic 'solutions' are clearly not solutions at all, hence the multi million population loss in garden birds.

cheeers
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 16:58   #16
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You have an obvious interest trichomoniasis. It is surprising that you believe it is caused by mould. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichomonas_gallinae

It is impossible to develop an immunity to a parasite.
ps, and this is a copy and paste, not my words - Avian trichomoniasis is principally a disease of young birds. The severity of the disease depends on the susceptibility of the bird and on the pathogenic potential of the strain of the parasite. Adult birds that recover from the infection may still carry the parasite, but are resistant to reinfection. These birds do not show obvious signs of infection.

Please note - birds can recover. Young bird infection depends on the susceptibility of the bird - immunity being a major factor.

ps I may correct myself here. I can find the evidence I just quoted but I can no longer find any info on the RSPB website that reflects this. I will withdraw my claim that I got it from the RSPB. I am hard enough on them anyway, I dont want to pass blame if not certain of the source.
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 17:06   #17
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ps, and this is a copy and paste, not my words - Avian trichomoniasis is principally a disease of young birds. The severity of the disease depends on the susceptibility of the bird and on the pathogenic potential of the strain of the parasite. Adult birds that recover from the infection may still carry the parasite, but are resistant to reinfection. These birds do not show obvious signs of infection.

Please note - birds can recover. Young bird infection depends on the susceptibility of the bird - immunity being a major factor.

ps I may correct myself here. I can find the evidence I just quoted but I can no longer find any info on the RSPB website that reflects this. I will withdraw my claim that I got it from the RSPB. I am hard enough on them anyway, I dont want to pass blame if not certain of the source.
https://community.rspb.org.uk/wildli...-or-dead-birds

please note from this link, the hyperlink to the trichomoniasis details is broken or the info at the end of the link has been removed. The RSPB are quite limited in this area.

BUT please note the advice, If you see that birds are affected stop feeding. ie shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Birds can carry this disease or parasite (it is a parasitic disease) without showing any symptoms. If they reach the stage of showing symptoms then the it is more than likely they have already had contact with other birds. They may have already infecred hundreds of other birds.

My suggestion, and this is only my opinion. Is that we should move away from all garden feeding (slowly, otherwise the reliance we have created will kill tens of millions of birds) and all water provision, other than running/flowing water. If the birds cant survive then it is the decision of nature that they should not be in that environment. The only outcome of overpowering nature is the genetic weakening of the species with the continued reintroduction of weak genes. Weak genes are like a disease in their own right.

unfortunately, the RSPB doesn't really apply the rules of nature, it fights them in many cases. Sorry for the rushed replies, they are long but my wording and grammar are most likely to be full of errors. My science is not...unless the source information is incorrect. if so, I apologise
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 17:12   #18
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ps, and this is a copy and paste, not my words - Avian trichomoniasis is principally a disease of young birds. The severity of the disease depends on the susceptibility of the bird and on the pathogenic potential of the strain of the parasite. Adult birds that recover from the infection may still carry the parasite, but are resistant to reinfection. These birds do not show obvious signs of infection.

Please note - birds can recover. Young bird infection depends on the susceptibility of the bird - immunity being a major factor.

ps I may correct myself here. I can find the evidence I just quoted but I can no longer find any info on the RSPB website that reflects this. I will withdraw my claim that I got it from the RSPB. I am hard enough on them anyway, I dont want to pass blame if not certain of the source.
ps. it is not impossible to gain immunity to a parasitic disease. I have already shown you that birds can actually recover from the infection. That is immunity in action.

Your message was very short but full of errors, sorry for the long replies but I thought id try and explain it properly to you...and the obvious errors in trying to overcome mother nature. She balances the ecosystems of the whole world, has done for millennia, and will continue to do so long after humans become extinct. She has taken us from single cell organisms to every life form on the planet. The method is this..natural selection..ie killing the weak, leaving the strong to survive. if you interfere, as we have, then eventually genetics will taje over as they have in the UK where 45 bird species have now been identified as being affected by this disease, not to mention pox and the rest. This is nature saying to us...come on guys, these birds dont belong here. hence the mass deaths
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 17:27   #19
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You have an obvious interest trichomoniasis. It is surprising that you believe it is caused by mould. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichomonas_gallinae

It is impossible to develop an immunity to a parasite.
PPPPPPs.

This is purely my assumption. Based on the knowledge of other forms of tricho diseases, such as the sexually transmitted disease in humans, I would try and learn lessons from the diseases themselves and when they appear.

I personally believe, and this is purely theoretical, that the tricho diseases are massive, rapid populations strippers. Most diseases have the function or population control. However, the specific methods of transmission being direct contact..sexual in human cases, saliva in the birds, in my opinion suggest that this is a disease directly triggered by population density. In the uk this is illustrated by the step change stripping of of massive populations in various garden bird species. each time the population hits a threshold we see new waves of this disease.

So in summary, i believe it is a population density activated, rapid population controller. It may actually be a good thing and a rapid way of eliminating the damage done by garden feeding.

if I were the RSPB I would suggest garden feeding in numerous tiny feeders to seperate the birds, as a lead up to planting method of food provision. In addition I would ask RSPB members to reduce feeding and put the money into a massive uk wide scheme where plots of land are purchased all over the country. 20 million households feed birds. Using a low estimate of bird feeding costs you could ask people to reduce feeding costs by half and then donate the other half...100million quid a year.

Then donors would be given the right to access/control the plts...they would used for rewilding or for specific habitat creation. The RSPB approach is crush the nuts up and feed them to more birds particularity chicks, potentially causing more deaths, or at best retaining the present level of population loss.

You can decide if the RSPB approach is better than mine. I only have opinions.

ohew...done

ps Pat, read and learn
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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 18:09   #20
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this article touches on the issue of mould toxins. Here is a quote from the article: and aflatoxins caused by mould on peanuts can kill birds.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeands...dens-bird-feed

Just for the record, this is the first time I have seen a report saying the toxins can directly kill the birds. It is even worse than I thought.

I looked into this disease in detail a couple of years ago and the mould on peanuts was the common cause stated everywhere. Unfortunately, like the RSPB link to tricho disease, it seems that due to massive criticism of the RSPB approach or ..carry on feeding anyway...most of the links between peanut mould and bird deaths have been removed.

Please note..even in that guardian report they seem to have got the wrong name and suggested the bird are being harmed by the human version of tricho.

ps I said it was a specific strain of tricho that had turned up in finches..just for your information that strain is the A1 strain. heres another report on the issue. Please note, this report also highlights the mould dangers of peanuts and it's effect on the immune systems

5. Mycotoxin exposure
Exposure to aflatoxins (AFs) and ochratoxin A (OA) can exert a range of adverse effects in birds, ranging from acute toxicosis to chronic subclinical impairment of growth, reproduction and immune function

This is a decent report and gives details on the pox and on salmonella too. This is more like real science, not the airy fairy/pre determined conclusion based stuff of the RSPB

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/d...rstb.2017.0091
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Old Wednesday 20th February 2019, 15:52   #21
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Thank you for bringing the Royal society paper to my attention. It is many years since I completed my science degree and my post graduate study and qualifications (professional and academic) are in HR.
I therefore did the usual thing with lengthy papers which was to read the abstract (or the executive summary) and the conclusion.
As a result I will continue to feed my garden birds and send in my Garden Birdwatch observations to the BTO. I shall await scientific advice from the BTO when it feels necessary to do so. I noted that Mike Toms (BTO)was involved with the production of this paper and I am confident the BTO will inform it's members of "good practice" with regard to garden feeding.
Incidentally I stopped feeding the birds with peanuts because of mold and restocked my peanut feeders with suet pellets and black sunflower seeds, this has proved highly popular with the birds if not a little expensive.
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Old Wednesday 20th February 2019, 16:27   #22
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Good to hear Robert. Most garden bird feeders ( the human type ) follow good practice in obtaining the best quality foods and a variety. I've had some healthy numbers of birds this winter which take sunflower hearts, insect suet pellets and blocks, millet and oats.......always with fresh water available. Highlight this week was a song thrush enjoying the ground scattered pellets.
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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 17:08   #23
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Good to hear Robert. Most garden bird feeders ( the human type ) follow good practice in obtaining the best quality foods and a variety. I've had some healthy numbers of birds this winter which take sunflower hearts, insect suet pellets and blocks, millet and oats.......always with fresh water available. Highlight this week was a song thrush enjoying the ground scattered pellets.
P
I gave up feeding peanuts a long time ago; I feed with sunflower hearts, suet and seed pellets and dried mealworms. I have witnessed the decline of greenfinches but have also seen a massive increase in starling number. I also contribute to BTO and read their missives.
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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 19:06   #24
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I find that the black sunflower seeds are much more popular than the sunflower hearts. The sunflower hearts are in a conventional seed feeder with perches, whereas the black sunflower seeds are in the old fashioned wire netting peanut feeder. The sunflower seed feeder needs to be carefully positioned because of the mess they produce.

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Freezing winter followed by summer of love for resident birds (BTO) BF Newsroom Latest news from the BTO 0 Monday 12th December 2011 12:05
It's freezing out there - birds need liquid water! Squirrel Garden Birds, Bird Feeding & Nestboxes 26 Tuesday 14th February 2006 15:50
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