[CT Birds] Questions on feeding birds

Carrier Graphics carriergraphics at sbcglobal.net
Mon Aug 19 11:03:04 EDT 2013

I have been thinking all summer about
my feeding birds at my home here in Harwinton. I have been feeding
them throughout the year ever since I moved here. About 38 years. I
am now questioning the impact this all year round feeding has on the
well being of the birds that feed here. 

This is really a complicated subject,
and I would like to hear from others on what they feel is the right
thing to do. So here is my interpretation on this subject at this
time. It appears, during the summer, the feeding of birds might just
have a more detrimental impact on their survival than the winter in
many ways. First, I have observed many more feathers during the
summer under the feeder than in the winter. Im not talking about molt
feathers, but numerous breast feathers, the kind that indicate a bird
was grabbed by a predator. I surmise many of these birds were
Immature. Yes, young birds do experience a higher mortality rate than
adults who have learned more about survival, but still, to have young
newly fledged birds feeding from feeders and on the ground under them
seems to be a bit more dangerous for them than feeding dispersed more
in wild nature. 

Also – When I see newly fledged young
feeding with adults in and under the feeders, I also feel the young
are not getting the best lessons on how to fend for themselves in
finding wild foods at their source. A very important knowledge for
them to have for survival in the future. In the summer months, food
is usually plentiful for birds, and the young need to learn how and
where to find it from their parents. As an example, I often see adult
Chipping Sparrows spread out on the lawn and adjacent wild grassy
areas with a group of Immature birds who are learning to feed in more
natural areas than just on or under a feeder where the food is
abundant and always there. This holds true to most all the young
birds that do visit our feeders. 

However, feeding in the winter, though
still not a natural source for feeding, might be a better way for us
to help feed the birds than in the summer. In winter, the Immature
birds have had time to learn all the natural ways to find food, and
our offerings might be just that. An offering to help in harsh times,
but not one which is the only source young birds know of to survive.
Any further thoughts you might contribute to this topic would be
greatly appreciated...Thanks

Paul Carrier - Harwinton

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