[CT Birds] concerns about feeding Hawks.

David F Provencher david.f.provencher at dom.com
Thu Feb 28 13:47:47 EST 2013

I think there have been quite a few good points made in this discussion. Personally, though I do not feed birds at all anymore, I largely agree with Paul. It would be a somewhat different question if Paul was supplying a large percentage of a raptor's annual diet (or raptors' annual diets). There are many human source contaminants in the environment, everything from caffeine to heavy metals. Many of these end up concentrated in small mammals, reptiles, fishes, etc. These prey items are then eaten by carnivores such as raptors. So just because a bird of prey eats a Meadow Vole rather than a chicken leg doesn't mean it is eating a toxin free meal. Now I know a chicken leg is likely more toxin laden, but in the context Paul presents, that chicken leg just might save the bird's life. I spend a goodly number of days in the wilderness each year (if there is such a place deserving that appellation on this planet anymore) and as such have a certain amount of survival knowledge. Part of that knowledge says do NOT drink untreated water from any source that might be exposed to human waste, animal waste, or bacteriological contamination. However, in dire circumstances with debilitating dehydration or death looming, it is always recommended to risk drinking the water even if you can't treat it, since staying alive is worth the risk of a future illness. So a Red-shouldered Hawk that eats mass produced chicken just might be better off than starving to death for want of any sustenance. Like a great many things in life, it's a complex issue!


David Provencher

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