[CT Birds] Questions on feeding birds

Kathy Van Der Aue kathyvda at gmail.com
Mon Aug 19 12:43:14 EDT 2013

I also used to feed the birds year round, but now I stop feeding seeds in
the summer, thinking as you do that they have ample more appropriate food
sources available.  I do feed the hummingbirds (two feeders on opposite
sides of the house to lessen "hummer wars') and I also continue to feed
suet in my upside down suet feeder, simply for my own pleasure, as I love
seeing the baby woodpeckers.  Statistics I have seen report that birds only
get about 25% of their food from feeders and I hope that is true.  I have
replanted our property with bird friendly shrubs in hopes that they also
use these food sources, which they seem to do.  I always have a fresh water
source running all year as open fresh water is essential for them and is
sometimes in short supply.

Kathy Van Der Aue
Southport, Connecticut
Visit my Blog at http://naturaliststable.wordpress.com

On Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 11:03 AM, Carrier Graphics <
carriergraphics at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

> 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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