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Old 02-01-2009, 11:53 AM   #41
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I started this thread...I think its fine. I appreciate topic drift and I get frustrated on other sites where conversation is stifled because everyone feels they have to keep "on-topic"... a conversation has flow and they often drift from topic to topic. I think it makes for a "good" conversation.
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:04 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by joepyeweed View Post
I started this thread...I think its fine. I appreciate topic drift and I get frustrated on other sites where conversation is stifled because everyone feels they have to keep "on-topic"... a conversation has flow and they often drift from topic to topic. I think it makes for a "good" conversation.
Thanks, Joepyeweed, I posted the pic for the "cute" effect of what is feeding at our feeders, which isn't always a bird.
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:16 PM   #43
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Thank you joepyeweed. I might not be high on your list very soon.

Images of seemingly healthy looking deer feeding peacefully on our offerings is an aberration. I see photos of those black silken muzzles swapping saliva being encouraged to congregate unnaturally and I feel really bad for them and for us. Artificially feeding deer isn’t in our best interests and certainly not in their best interests for reasons addressed at countless sites. The public at large is anything but receptive to being educated about zoonoses such as encephalitis, septicemia, or meningitis and even less receptive to being educated about deer being reservoirs. Out of sight, out of mind. Deer are extremely charismatic animals. For this reason I’m happy to see these issues popped up at WG rather than at a regular gardening site where deer would not be separated from their behavior. That’s when issues tend to polarize and battle lines get drawn which makes for an emotionally charged lose-lose situation. It’s only natural for people who subscribe to sustainable practices to have a desire to discuss these issues and at least by us most should realize man is responsible for their explosive numbers and man is in a position to do something about it.

While deer may inarguably be magnificent animals, their numbers must be reduced to sustain their health as well as the health of us humans. Their negative impact on the environment is well documented. Feeding deer is no longer viewed in a favorable light. In fact, feeding deer is illegal in many states and discouraged in all. When we humans allow deer to congregate unnaturally, we are not gardening for wildlife but feeding deer in much the same way farmers feed cattle. The feeding of deer brings them into our yards. It’s baiting for semi-domesticated wildlife. This practice is a disservice to the animal and to ourselves. There are very good reasons why public health officials view deer in such an unfavorable light. Prion concerns surfaced at WG which pleased me to no end. What wasn't mentioned was that CWD has a very long incubation period. Deer that test positive show few signs of the disease if any. Very rarely do we get the opportunity to go beyond Lyme disease and rabies because many don't like to think of deer as reservoirs for disease like BT.
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Old 02-01-2009, 01:00 PM   #44
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Default Deer eating away at forests nationwide- Population boom: 500,000 to 25 million

Posting a fly by.

Deer eating away at forests nationwide
Population boom: 500,000 to 25 million in a century
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6835501/
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In pre-European settlement times, deer population density was 10 to 15 deer per square mile. In the 19th century, numbers dwindled as land was cleared for agriculture and commercial hunting became widespread.

In the early 20th century, states limited hunting, preserved open space and imported the animals. Much of the land cleared for agriculture has since been converted back to wild land as farmers abandoned the business.

Now, in places like southern New York and northern Pennsylvania, there are 30 to 35 deer per square mile, Curtis said.

“In some ways we’ve been too successful at bringing the deer back,” Curtis said.
Quality Deer Management Association:
http://www.qdma.com/
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Old 02-01-2009, 02:56 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Staff View Post
Posting a fly by.

Quality Deer Management Association:
http://www.qdma.com/

(First two paragraphs of linked article as follows)
What is Quality Deer Management?

Quality Deer Management (QDM) is a management philosophy/practice that unites landowners, hunters, and managers in a common goal of producing biologically and socially balanced deer herds within existing environmental, social, and legal constraints. This approach typically involves the protection of young bucks (yearlings and some 2.5 year-olds) combined with an adequate harvest of female deer to maintain a healthy population in balance with existing habitat conditions and landowner desires. This level of deer management involves the production of quality deer (bucks, does, and fawns), quality habitat, quality hunting experiences, and, most importantly, quality hunters.

A successful QDM program requires an increased knowledge of deer biology and active participation in management. This level of involvement extends the role of the hunter from mere consumer to manager. The progression from education to understanding, and finally, to respect; bestows an ethical obligation upon the hunter to practice sound deer management. Consequently, to an increasing number of landowners and hunters, QDM is a desirable alternative to traditional management, which allows the harvest of any legal buck and few, if any, does.
Bold, italics in first two paragraphs of linked article are mine. When an organization or company uses such words as "quality" in their name, it raises red flags with me. Like "Healthy Choice" products which contain more sodium and chemicals than real food value.

The "Quality Deer Management" Philosophy sounds anything but natural to me. It's as if these folks have never heard of "survival of the fittest" which is as nature intends.

And is not feeding birds in winter encouraging them to "congregate unnaturally"?

I have nothing against deer. No one is this whole neighborhood is ever close to the deer who lived here first and are now trying to navigate through their disrupted forest areas. No one in the neighborhood has caught any disease from deer. The deer are always alert and run for cover as soon as they detect movement.

Does not virtually every kind of animal present some possible risk? Especially when we consume it?
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Old 02-01-2009, 02:58 PM   #46
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I hesitate to comment even though invited to because the issues were somewhat addressed in this thread and previously here, http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/showthread.php?t=497
I love all wildlife, I think most of us do or we wouldn’t be posting in these forums. For the record, I value the life of a human considerably more than an animal’s life.

For every action there is a reaction. We are all presented with choices in our daily lives. For every choice we make, reasonably foreseeable consequences generally exist. The consequences of choosing to artificially feed deer are not as readily seen and rarely accepted as they are with artificially feeding bears. Choosing to feed deer might very well be the ultimate compromise of public health and we’re dealing with a little bit more than damage left behind from the wake of a cabin break in by a bear whether we are willing to accept it or not.

Prior to European colonization, deer herds were kept in check by predators. Unregulated hunting and loss of habitat due to immigration reduced herds drastically. We’ve come a long way since then and deer have more than rebounded and then some. Please know I haven't met a wildlife biologist or game warden or wildlife officer who is not familiar with the profound challenges presented by rapidly multiplying herd numbers. Deer are literally stripping our fragile ecosystems of vegetation which eliminates niches for other wildlife and this has been well documented, it’s fact not fiction.

I’d like to share a few reasons (other than it being illegal in many states) why people like me are vehemently opposed to artificially feeding deer.

First and foremost, the threat of CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease). It is believed to be spread deer to deer via direct contact. When we feed them, we encourage them to congregate for extended periods of time which may be contributing to the rapid spread of CWD. In the wild, deer browse an area then move on. Every time we refill a feeder accessible to them, we bring them back to the same area. Regardless, if not spread by direct contact, then indirect contact might be responsible in which case; we are still bringing them in direct contact with urine, feces, and food that will build up in areas where they are fed. Either way the disease is spread, artificially feeding them defies logic and in the minds of many is the equivalent of leading lambs to slaughter given the very animal feed many provide. To the best of my knowledge, commercially available feeds could contain the infectious agent to CWD. It is my understanding one photo of pelleted horse feed set out in a crib for deer was already removed from WG. If that pelletized feed provided contained rendered animal parts, that member could have unknowingly infecting all deer at her feeder… in a state where it is illegal to feed deer. Many commercially available feeds specifically state they are not to be fed to ruminants because of the potential risk of spreading CWD yet I have learned most people are unaware deer and elk are ruminants therefore many provide “deer pellet stuff” at their feeders. I doubt seriously if any person who chooses to feed deer realizes there exists such a risk. And my question has always been why don’t we print right on the bags, “Don’t feed to deer or elk” in favor of using the word ruminants. I would think a photo of deer and elk in a circle with a big red X might do the trick on any feed containing rendered animal parts.

Next cause for concern would be the risk of the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis. Once again, when we artificially feed deer we are encouraging them to come in close contact for extended periods of time which increases the likelihood an infected deer would be able to transmit the disease.

Another cause for concern, artificially feeding deer causes more deer to survive than what our ecosystems can handle which will ultimately result in an even greater death toll in the long run.

Quote:
Feeding can cause more deer to survive than the natural habitat can support, which can lead to long term degradation of the natural habitat. Deer being artificially fed also consume natural food in the adjoining area. With deer concentrated at feeding sites, the surrounding natural habitat can be severely overbrowsed. The browse plants can be damaged so that they produce smaller quantities of browse for many years, or can be completely eliminated. The result is a habitat that supports fewer deer, and a deer population that is dependent on artificial feeding. Feeding is often done in open areas where deer are exposed to cold winds, causing them to lose valuable body heat and requiring them to consume even more calories to stay warm.

Next concern would be that it is normal for some deer to starve to death over winter. This was one of the means by which balance was maintained in that the carrying capacity of the land was not overly taxed. When we artificially feed, the weaker deer as well as the stronger deer survive to perpetuate the gene pool which negatively impacts herds in the long run. Survival of the fittest isn’t occurring when we interfere therefore the weak are not being “weeded” out naturally.

There are considerably more causes for concern but these stick out like sore thumbs.

There is absolutely positively nothing natural about current deer herd numbers. Deer are doing irreversible damage because there are too many of them. Their herd numbers are out of control and on a collision course with disaster for a multitude of reasons but they are taking other species of flora (plants which sustain wildlife) and fauna (wildlife) down with them and they ultimately could take us humans down too. When we artificially feed deer, I believe we tinker with nature and defy God but that truly is a personal opinion.

I had a neighbor who built a corn crib to feed deer. She never missed an opportunity telling me how many deer were at her corn crib and how we should make a corn crib too…for our kids. Her children played in and around that corn crib like it was playground equipment which made me cringe. Asking her to take down her corn crib would have been viewed as the equivalent of taking candy away from a baby. Reporting her wasn’t an option. Mean spirited to whistle blow because the % of people who know it is against the law in my state is very small and the % of people who know why it is against the law is even smaller. Here’s what I did to avoid problems with my neighbor- I printed off a list of communicable diseases that deer carry (included Lyme Disease which people identify with) and added a few copies of newspaper articles as well as a copy of the law and associated fine if convicted. Rather than just singling out my neighbor with the visible corn crib and salt lick, I placed my flyers in everyone's mailbox to include my own. Very quick results. The salt lick disappeared immediately. The corn crib that used to be loaded with corn and sunflower seed was never refilled. I sneaked out and doused it with bleach and then hit it again with mintane. I have no idea if that helped but it made me feel better when I saw her kids climbing all over it later on in the week.
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Old 02-01-2009, 03:04 PM   #47
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I was posting when Sage was posting. "And is not feeding birds in winter encouraging them to "congregate unnaturally"?" Yes. Particularly when seed offered encourages house sparrows and starlings to congregate unnaturally. They are reservoirs for WNV. I do not feel comfortable posting here again.
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Old 02-01-2009, 03:37 PM   #48
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I was posting when Sage was posting.

I do not feel comfortable posting here again.
Thanks for your thoughtful and intelligent input, which explains the subject well. I appreciate it.

I'm not sure if your "not feeling comfortable posting here again" refers to this thread or the site. You are not the only one who sees me as being on the wrong side of the issue. But, you have explained it very well and you are a great asset to this thread and the community.

This is quoted from the forum rules:
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Who Will Stay

Those who are sincerely interested in North American flora and fauna and/or sustainable practices, productive discourse, stimulating conversation, and the sharing of resources. Passion and curiosity make the world go round. We welcome yours.
Recognize yourself? Besides, your avatar is my tree!

From all the opinions offered by members, it seems the smart thing for me to do is no longer fill the feeders at all. I will miss the birdies which I love to photograph. Can I continue to sneak little treats for them on the balcony when no one is looking, so no other critters can get it? I need to click my camera as much as the rest of you need to garden!

And really, I'm the one out-of-place here as I'm a condo-dweller, age 70, who just loves all nature, plant and animal, and loves to photograph it. Most of the members here are so well educated on their subjects and will be gardening and teaching like crazy now as the weather warms. I'll be out taking pictures.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:37 PM   #49
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I thought for sure I'd be shunned by you when I read the content of your post that appeared after I posted. When discussing these issues one must take into consideration the audience. When I speak, I am frequently speaking to groups that have already been exposed to beyond Lyme Disease issues... they are receptive. Not so with local gardening groups. They're split down the middle. Poison the deer for eating their plants which is heinous to me or feed the deer so they don't kill their plants which exacerbates the problems. We walk a fine line exposing this type of an audience to concerns for their own well being. You may want to get it and may be motivated to do something but most don't want to get it. There's an anti-authoritative streak that runs in all of us. In some it is more pronounced. I didn't want to hurt my neighbor's feelings because I enjoy her so much. I didn't want to hurt your feelings because I enjoy you so much. I joined here to be able to spend down time. There was no way for me to alert you to the issues by covertly slipping my "deer package" into every mail box at your condo association yet I saw your husband out there filling the feeder....You're not out of place here Sage. I know lots of groups that have participants who don't even have a balcony or a patio who share our intense love for wildlife. They do like you and me visiting the wilds. Something more of us should be doing. Please know there are many ways to garden for wildlife from a balcony. You'd be surprised at the habitat you can create for butterflies and hummers using containers and well selected plants. You don't need to sneak around to click your camera. Rather than no longer filling your feeder, why not move your bird feeder up (easier on your husband's back anyway) which was already suggested. You might also want to watch the type of seed you buy. Safflower is a good choice. HOSP's and EUST's aren't interested in it which leaves the seed for the native species. Sunflower seeds are another good choice. Offer those from your balcony? These simple changes would exclude the deer and would have the added benefit of segregating the native bird species from the invasive species at a shared feeder. HOSP's and EUST's don't contract West Niles Virus like many of our native species but they are a reservoir and do spread it around. Even in this bitterly cold weather, it's a very good idea to take the bird feeder down to bleach it every now and then. Peace to you oh great and powerful provider of my avatar!
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:34 PM   #50
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Equilibrium, I couldn't' shun a fellow grub!

If spring ever arrives I'll fill the balcony with as much as I can in those long terra cotta containers. One is for herbs. I'll be on the lookout here for suggestions on balcony plantings to attract hummers, bird and flutterbies.

What are HOSPs and EUSTs?

Is this a corn crib?
http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/for...isplay.php?f=8


Roger and I have matching cameras, Panasonic Lumix FZ18s, http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Panasonic/panasonic_dmcfz18.asp and competitive natures for getting birds flying and the best shot of the day, as we go from park to park.

To the Lorax and everyone else who is trying to educate me, tho we may not always see things alike, I love you all.
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