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Old 12-12-2013, 12:24 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 15,851,507 times
Reputation: 10268

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I'm in Michigan, so...cold in winter.

Anyway, I was told a long time ago that feeding wild birds all year gave them a false sense of security about the upcoming winter, and some that would normally migrate south, wouldn't, and could be harmed by this. So I feed only in winter because I love to see the cardinals and grosbeaks and juncos and other pretty birds at the feeders under my pine tree - plus they surely must appreciate the extra food!

If you feed birds, how often and for what part of the year?
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Old 12-12-2013, 12:53 PM
 
7,281 posts, read 9,235,425 times
Reputation: 11449
Feeding anything wild, including birds is harmful.

Don't you realize that feeding creates an artificial environment just because you happen to like it? Don't you realize what you're doing? By providing food, you are making a mess out of the local environment. The birds will get along fine without your tampering.

Sure they appreciate the extra food. That makes it right? How did those birds manage to live all this time without you feeding them? You want them around so you can see them. The feeding brings them out from where they should be, away from the elements and predators.

The pure arrogance of people that feed wild animals and birds simply don't think, probably because it is all about them, not the nature they claim to like so much.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:58 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 15,851,507 times
Reputation: 10268
I don't completely disagree with you, actually. For the most part I'm a big proponent of keeping wild animals wild, and not dependent on humans.

But I have planted flowers and perennials to attract and keep pollinators around because they're important for gardens and farms. We have destroyed a lot of natural habitat (eg prairie and woods) so that everything from deer and voles to raptors and natural carnivores cannot thrive. I live on the Great Lakes, which would be all but barren or desolate were it not for human intervention.

Here there are now wolf hunts, because wolves were re-introduced and some have become problematic. Deer hunting is HUGE here and needs to be, since there are no longer natural predators to keep things in balance and deer can be a big problem not to mention they become starved and diseased because they're subjected to an "artificial environment." So I assume you are also anti-hunting; which is too bad because it is now very necessary because of the "mess we've made out of the local environment" by building houses, farms and roads all over it. Which of course we can do because we are apex predators.

Anyway I'm not talking about feeding birds in their natural environment, which would be a landscape with no humans or structures in it. They're adjusting to living in a suburban environment, to fields planted with GMO crops, to sterile, lush lawns that offer no nourishment instead of rich, grassy prairie, to pollution and DDT and wind turbines and sterilized waterways. I'm just trying to balance the scales a bit, without upsetting the natural balance.

Sheesh.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,642,937 times
Reputation: 13779
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack Knife View Post
Feeding anything wild, including birds is harmful.

Don't you realize that feeding creates an artificial environment just because you happen to like it? Don't you realize what you're doing? By providing food, you are making a mess out of the local environment. The birds will get along fine without your tampering.

Sure they appreciate the extra food. That makes it right? How did those birds manage to live all this time without you feeding them? You want them around so you can see them. The feeding brings them out from where they should be, away from the elements and predators.

The pure arrogance of people that feed wild animals and birds simply don't think, probably because it is all about them, not the nature they claim to like so much.
This is nonsense. If you don't want to feed birds, then don't, but don't make up BS about the practice. The local environment is already messed up by all kinds of human activity, even on the most primitive level.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:05 PM
 
Location: On a peninsula
66 posts, read 183,233 times
Reputation: 110
We feed them year round. We plant flowers in the summer, use feeders in the winter.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:11 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
34,806 posts, read 44,334,081 times
Reputation: 44966
I keep sunflower seeds, safflower, a general mix and cracked corn out all year. In winter I add Nyger thistle feeders, suet varieties (including a homemade one with oatmeal, raisins, flour, corn meal, peanut butter and lard) as well as overripe oranges cut in half and stuck on a large nail.

That's in addition to the bird friendly plantings.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:33 PM
Status: "Glum, some." (set 3 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
27,760 posts, read 14,534,326 times
Reputation: 12426
I feed them year-round but dole out more in winter when pickin's are slimmer for some. The deer also graze on seed and the occasional apple we leave out for them.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:36 PM
 
3,438 posts, read 4,921,449 times
Reputation: 5428
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack Knife View Post
Feeding anything wild, including birds is harmful.

Don't you realize that feeding creates an artificial environment just because you happen to like it? Don't you realize what you're doing? By providing food, you are making a mess out of the local environment. The birds will get along fine without your tampering.

Sure they appreciate the extra food. That makes it right? How did those birds manage to live all this time without you feeding them? You want them around so you can see them. The feeding brings them out from where they should be, away from the elements and predators.

The pure arrogance of people that feed wild animals and birds simply don't think, probably because it is all about them, not the nature they claim to like so much.
I really couldn't care less what others think.

I feed birds year around.

In summer they eat very little, in winter they eat a lot more.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:42 PM
Status: "Glum, some." (set 3 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
27,760 posts, read 14,534,326 times
Reputation: 12426
As mentioned, I put out extra feed in winter but also when the fledglings start showing up with the parents in summer.
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Old 12-12-2013, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,642,937 times
Reputation: 13779
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
I don't completely disagree with you, actually. For the most part I'm a big proponent of keeping wild animals wild, and not dependent on humans.

But I have planted flowers and perennials to attract and keep pollinators around because they're important for gardens and farms. We have destroyed a lot of natural habitat (eg prairie and woods) so that everything from deer and voles to raptors and natural carnivores cannot thrive. I live on the Great Lakes, which would be all but barren or desolate were it not for human intervention.

Here there are now wolf hunts, because wolves were re-introduced and some have become problematic. Deer hunting is HUGE here and needs to be, since there are no longer natural predators to keep things in balance and deer can be a big problem not to mention they become starved and diseased because they're subjected to an "artificial environment." So I assume you are also anti-hunting; which is too bad because it is now very necessary because of the "mess we've made out of the local environment" by building houses, farms and roads all over it. Which of course we can do because we are apex predators.

Anyway I'm not talking about feeding birds in their natural environment, which would be a landscape with no humans or structures in it. They're adjusting to living in a suburban environment, to fields planted with GMO crops, to sterile, lush lawns that offer no nourishment instead of rich, grassy prairie, to pollution and DDT and wind turbines and sterilized waterways. I'm just trying to balance the scales a bit, without upsetting the natural balance.

Sheesh.
Well, some people also advocate social Darwinism, but I pay them the same mind that I pay to people who play the psuedo-environmentalists and decry feeding birds. I ignore them. If groups like the Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation support feeding birds, that's good enough for me.

I feed birds all year round because I love to see them, to watch learn them, to learn their habits, and to hear them.

I feed black oil sunflower seeds all year, plus thistle seed in the summer and a high quality mix and suet in the fall/winter/spring. I also feed peanuts year round for the bluejays, but I have to ration those as the jays eat as many peanuts as I put out as quickly as they can. I have a variety of feeders, from a thistle sock to a couple of ground feeders.

One thing not to do is feed cheap seed. It's mostly filler seed that the birds won't eat, so they make a mess around the feeder(s) which attracts rodents, primarily skunks. Yeah, and don't put your garbage out in plastic garbage bags because it's likely crows getting into your "good stuff" not roaming dogs or cats. In my city, at least some of the crows have learned when various neighborhoods have garbage day!

I also provide them with water all year round, a pond with a waterfall and pool for safely drinking and bathing and a heated bird bath all winter.

Aside from the ubiquitous house sparrows and starlings, I get cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees year round. I get house and gold finches, catbirds, robins, song sparrows, and hummingbirds in summer, and lots of juncos in the winter. I used to get titmice in the winter, but not since my neighbor took down his Norway spruces.

I have heard that you should take in hummingbird feeders after about mid-September, but it's much more likely that changes in daylight and temperatures trigger migration rather than the abundance or scarcity of food. Since birds are smart enough to navigate thousands of miles by the stars or landmarks or whatever, I think they're smart enough to figure out seasons are changing.
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