Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening

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-   -   Is Winter Bird Feeding Good for Birds? (http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/birds-including-raptors-hummers/13405-winter-bird-feeding-good-birds.html)

NEWisc 01-16-2020 03:32 PM

Is Winter Bird Feeding Good for Birds?
 
I've always wondered what science might have to say about that. Here's a little food for thought that I found:

https://www.aldoleopold.org/post/win...ng-good-birds/

dapjwy 01-17-2020 01:17 PM

NEWisc,

Thank you for posting this.

I have read before that if you love birds, don't feed them. It is nice to know that feeding them (especially in severe weather) tends to outweigh the negatives. Still, I try to be aware of the potential harm.

This year, especially, I find myself putting out less seed...and trying to put it in various spots throughout the yard--mix it up a little.

I know in past years, when the weather is more severe, I put out more--and I will continue to do so. When more birds show up, I'll begin putting out more and more to compensate for the numbers.

I was also happy to read this:
Quote:

Lest you worry about turning you feeder birds into “dependent beggars” which can no longer fend for themselves, we saw no evidence that feeder birds became overly reliant on supplemental food.

In our study, birds with ready access to a feeder never obtained more than 20 to 25 percent of their energy needs from it; the remaining 75 to 80 percent came from natural sources, even though the birds had ample opportunity to take more from feeders.
Thanks again. :)

Martha 01-19-2020 03:34 PM

Thanks for sharing that article. Margaret Roach talks a lot about feeding birds as well in her podcast/website A Way To Garden. I can’t put out a feeder in my tiny Brooklyn garden because I now have a dog that barks at anything that climbs or flies into the garden. Yes, sometimes even a butterfly stupid dog. When I used to feed the birds I would get a surprising variety including woodpeckers.

katjh 01-19-2020 05:21 PM

Thanks for sharing that article. I still feed in winter, but not as much as I used to. I do it more for my enjoyment, I like to watch the activity at the feeders while I have my morning tea. I have a number of neighbors who feed year-round, so I don't think my feeders make much of a difference one way or another.

NEWisc 01-20-2020 03:09 PM

I think the article makes it possible to have your cake and eat it too! Feeding can help birds is certain situations, and you can enjoy seeing them (food for the human soul) at a feeder if the feeding is done with an understanding of the impact it can have on the birds.

I still feed suet (high protein type) and black oil sunflower seeds in the winter. I don't worry when the feeders run out, it's a chance for the birds to clean up the scraps. But I do make an effort to insure that food is available before and after a big storm.

In the summer they are on their own. I've planted a lot of native plants to feed the native insect herbivores that they need for themselves and their offspring. Of course those insects feed a lot of other creatures too.

dapjwy 01-20-2020 09:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NEWisc (Post 161998)
I think the article makes it possible to have your cake and eat it too! Feeding can help birds is certain situations, and you can enjoy seeing them (food for the human soul) at a feeder if the feeding is done with an understanding of the impact it can have on the birds.

I still feed suet (high protein type) and black oil sunflower seeds in the winter. I don't worry when the feeders run out, it's a chance for the birds to clean up the scraps. But I do make an effort to insure that food is available before and after a big storm.

In the summer they are on their own. I've planted a lot of native plants to feed the native insect herbivores that they need for themselves and their offspring. Of course those insects feed a lot of other creatures too.

I think that pretty much sums up my birdfeeding habits...except I don't tend to put out suet...and sometimes put out nuts along with the black oil sunflower seeds.

katjh 01-21-2020 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NEWisc (Post 161998)
I think the article makes it possible to have your cake and eat it too! Feeding can help birds is certain situations, and you can enjoy seeing them (food for the human soul) at a feeder if the feeding is done with an understanding of the impact it can have on the birds.

I still feed suet (high protein type) and black oil sunflower seeds in the winter. I don't worry when the feeders run out, it's a chance for the birds to clean up the scraps. But I do make an effort to insure that food is available before and after a big storm.

In the summer they are on their own. I've planted a lot of native plants to feed the native insect herbivores that they need for themselves and their offspring. Of course those insects feed a lot of other creatures too.

This is pretty much what I do as well. I put out beef suet from the butcher shop, black oil sunflower, peanuts (shelled and whole), and thistle. I did add shelf feeder on a log for the juncos this year. I put mixed seed on that.
The blue jays and woodpeckers love the whole peanuts, while the chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals, etc feast on the sunflower and shelled peanuts. And the flocks of goldfinch are a treat just outside my window at the thistle feeder.
Winter only, here. In summer there is plenty of "live" and natural food in my yard....and I have neighbors that feed year-round.

dapjwy 01-22-2020 08:14 AM

katjh,

Thanks for the reminder--in the last two or three years, I have put out the nyjer seed, too. I have seen more goldfinches in our yard even in the summer...I think I am starting to provide ideal habitat for them. :)

Martha 01-22-2020 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dapjwy (Post 162009)
katjh,

I have seen more goldfinches in our yard even in the summer...I think I am starting to provide ideal habitat for them. :)

That is so cool! It must be so gratifying to see nature discover your yard. I really enjoy seeing everyone's photos.

dapjwy 01-22-2020 02:25 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Martha (Post 162013)
That is so cool! It must be so gratifying to see nature discover your yard. I really enjoy seeing everyone's photos.

It is rewarding. I have been at it for about 12 years (and dreamt about it for longer than that until we got our land)...I just though I would be farther along by now. Still, the changes that I've made and the wildlife I see does make it very gratifying.

I should include more photos. Pictures were always big here on WG. I think there were issues with uploading them...and them showing up upside-down, so I got away from doing it.

I have found, though, if I edit the picture in any way and resave it, it shows up right-side-up. Usually, I just crop them.

I will try to post more pictures. Martha, it seems like you have initiated a bit of a resurgence in posts. A lot of members seem to be coming out of the woodwork. I for one am making a concerted effort to post more; others seem to be, too. Thank you.

I will close with an aerial shot of our 2 acres:

Attachment 46490


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