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Cornell Labs post: "Why do we feed the birds?"

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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 21:43   #1
Ruff
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Cornell Labs post: "Why do we feed the birds?"

The Cornell University people just posted this on Facebook, which is to say that they may have done so a while ago but it just appeared on my page this afternoon. Pretty good article with some of their usual science supported data. Since it seems to be part of a current magazine article in the journal "All About Birds" so I'm just going to post the link rather than the full text, hoping that will somehow aid the vanishing magazine industry. Click on an ad while you're there I guess.


https://www.allaboutbirds.org/why-do...960d-306737649
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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 22:29   #2
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Interesting article

I always advocate the natural approach as much as possible - there is nothing quite as satisfying as watching birds feed and nest in gardens/ restored or augmented habitat, that you have created yourself.

However I realise that people live in places where that is not possible (lack of land, or harsh climate extremes, or prolonged snow bound flora hibernation) , and so appropriate feeding/watering is necessary and a good thing.

As a kid at our house we used to feed kookaburras (strips of topside steak no less!), and seed mixes to parrots (crimson rosellas, rainbow lorikeets), etc. Note that these are rather gregarious and bossy species.

Later on when I grew up I dug out the lawns front and rear and provided bird baths, and planted a 90% native garden (including plants from all over the country) for my mum. The increase in insects, native bees, and bird species visiting and living there, even stopping over on migration, was astounding ! :) The whole gamut was present from the smallest and shyest Eastern Spinebills, and Peaceful Doves, through to large Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos eating Banksia cones.

The thing that always stuck in my mind is that one night we were 'spotlighting' the feeder to see what happened at night - what a shock! Apart from the expected Possums, there were RATS! that would dart in and out at high speed to the feeder and spilt seeds /shells on the ground. We removed the feeders after that, and once the garden was in - never looked back. However, we were lucky to have the space and climate to do that.

So RAT discourage your feeding environments people !

I agree with the author of the book that a lot more scientific research (not just citizen science) needs to be done on the macro level - cumulative, time series, health, composition, behavioural, distribution, and landscape scale, etc studies on the impacts ......



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Old Tuesday 15th January 2019, 09:37   #3
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Hi Ruff,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruff View Post
The Cornell University people just posted this on Facebook, which is to say that they may have done so a while ago but it just appeared on my page this afternoon. Pretty good article with some of their usual science supported data. Since it seems to be part of a current magazine article in the journal "All About Birds" so I'm just going to post the link rather than the full text, hoping that will somehow aid the vanishing magazine industry.
Interesting that the interviewee mention that the topic wasn't well researched at all.

In Germany, while bird-feeding is sort of popular, there's also a strong minority view condemning it as unnatural and harmful. I'm not quite sure where that stems from, and I haven't been able to find much in the way of arguments for the contra-line, but it seems that the anti-feeding view might be popular with better-educated people, including preservation activists and ornithologists.

However, that's really me reading between the lines of some articles that reacted to the publication of "Vögel füttern - aber richtig" ('Feeding Birds - The Proper Way") by the well-regarded ornithologist Professor Peter Berthold, which provoked some strongly disagreeing statements by other experts.

Regards,

Henning
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2019, 09:44   #4
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Hi Chosun,

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Apart from the expected Possums, there were RATS! that would dart in and out at high speed to the feeder and spilt seeds /shells on the ground.
People feeding feral pigeons in urban Hamburg actually provided me with the opportunity to observe a Long-Eared Owl on the hunt. It predated on rodents that came out at night to feed on the left-over seeds strewn generously all over a large traffic refuge.

Quite the sight to see the owl go about its business quite undisturbedly right next to a busy subway station, with cards speeding by on all sides :-)

(I figure the owl was hunting mice, though - it's probably too small to tackle rats.)

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Old Tuesday 15th January 2019, 16:10   #5
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Quote:
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Hi Ruff,



Interesting that the interviewee mention that the topic wasn't well researched at all.

In Germany, while bird-feeding is sort of popular, there's also a strong minority view condemning it as unnatural and harmful. I'm not quite sure where that stems from, and I haven't been able to find much in the way of arguments for the contra-line, but it seems that the anti-feeding view might be popular with better-educated people, including preservation activists and ornithologists.

However, that's really me reading between the lines of some articles that reacted to the publication of "Vögel füttern - aber richtig" ('Feeding Birds - The Proper Way") by the well-regarded ornithologist Professor Peter Berthold, which provoked some strongly disagreeing statements by other experts.

Regards,

Henning
Anti feeding sentiments are not much found in Canada, perhaps because a really bad period of winter weather (which are not infrequent) can in just a few days seriously threaten even our hardy non-migratory species. And also, in more normal times there are very few spots in Canada that don't have an abundance of natural food sources, so the birds are attending feeders voluntarily in places that are relatively free of human-shy predators. Finally, I've been set up long enough that a lot of my feeder customers are clearly migrating birds that are fuelling up to head further south or north, depending on the season. We place enough obstacles in their way, in the way of wind turbines 24 hrs a day and lit up highrises and skyscrapers at night, that I feel I'm providing a bit of a counterbalance, however small.
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2019, 17:24   #6
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Hi Ruff,

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We place enough obstacles in their way, in the way of wind turbines 24 hrs a day and lit up highrises and skyscrapers at night, that I feel I'm providing a bit of a counterbalance, however small.
Very good point! In Germany, there are a lot of human activities focusing on helping the birds for the same reasons, and I'm not aware of any of these being questioned the way bird feeding is.

I suspect there's some cultural history behind this, but I can't really figure it out. I'm sure you'd have to look back at least one century to understand it.

Regards,

Henning
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