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Re: trains in the garden/birds

Most birds eat either insects or seeds, but not both.  Or not both unless
they are having trouble finding their main food source.  The insect eaters
are having the hardest time because insecticides are so widely used--many
towns apply them whether individuals do or not.   I wouldn't worry about
birds becoming dependent on bird feeders and losing the ability to find
their own food.  The concern I have is the opposite--that so much of their
natural habitat and food supply is being destroyed and replaced that they
may not make it without additional food being provided by those who feed
birds.  Avoiding insecticides is one of the best things you can do for
birds.  Many of the insect eaters also eat berries, so shrubs that produce
clean, un-sprayed berries are also good.  And if you provide sunflower seed
and Niger, you will keep nearly all of the seed eaters happy.  The one
concern I have with feeding seed, especially the inexpensive mixes, is that
they attract house sparrows, and house sparrows are aggressive and have
pushed some of the cavity nesters to the brink of extinction.  Loss of sites
to build cavity type nests is also a problem, so if you can leave dead trees
in place, that's a big help to birds as well.

Linda in Wyoming

    ----- Original Message -----
From: "Janet Laytham" <jw.laytham@worldnet.att.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Sunday, December 29, 2002 11:35 AM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] trains in the garden/birds

> Cathy,
> Maybe it's an urban legend, but I understood that birds don't feed seeds
> their babes: they can't process it for that purpose.  They need insects
> worms.    But then, I haven't read the WSJ article.   My theory had been
> that the birds would eat at the feeder for themselves and go on to gather
> insects to feed their young.
> Janet

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