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Re: feeding birds was: in defense of starlings was: fat birdies

  • To: gardenchat@hort.net
  • Subject: Re: [CHAT] feeding birds was: in defense of starlings was: fat birdies
  • From: "Marge Talt" mtalt@hort.net
  • Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2003 02:55:54 -0500

We feed year around on the theory that, since we are providing food
beyond what is naturally available, the birds are dependent on us and
many would not stay in the vicinity if they did not have the handout
because the area would not support them.  Once nesting starts, I
think they are particularly in need of the additional
nutrients...parenting takes a lot out of the adult birds.  Seed
eaters feed their young insects and probably eat a few themselves,
but they are basically seed eaters.  Few plants offer seed early in
the season.

IMO, once you start feeding any wildlife, you must continue or said
wildlife may suffer....rather like having pets; you don't just feed
them at one season and not another.  If there is ample food, wildlife
reproduce well and the offspring set up housekeeping closer than they
would if pickin's were scarce.  If food supplies suddenly stop, then
someone goes hungry and/or dies and/or has to go somewhere else to
find sufficient food.  This goes for all critters, no matter their
mode of locomotion.

One of the interesting factoids I've read over the years says that a
water source is as important, if not more important to birds than
food handouts.  Of course, without electric heaters, it's a tad hard
to provide a liquid water source right now when everything is frozen

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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