Spinning tales about feeding and sheltering wild birds. People feed and house wild birds to observe and preserve nature.
Americans spend more than $3 billion yearly in feeding birds.
Even in Australia, where this practice is strongly opposed by conservationists, numerous households nourish the birds. Fortunately, wild birds rarely overeat; therefore, overfeeding is not problematic.
Certainly, there is controversy with this worldwide devotion to birds. Some experts affirm that wild creatures should support their own lives. If humans interfere, it will weaken their natural abilities to exist. Eventually, dependency on humans ensues.
Nevertheless, offering food and shelter (preferably nesting houses with a perch) is periodically beneficial.
Birds accept forage during the hardships of extreme weather, migration and the scarcity of seeds and insects in late winter and early spring. They also welcome birdhouse shelter as opposed to taking refuge under a tree branch on the ground during frigid periods.
Understandably, the urban birds also need balanced diets and shelter. Nutriment should consist of more than crumbs in the park — moldy bread is not healthy.
Masters at survival, some birds store fat during the winter day to keep warm during the night. They capably fluff their feathers to capture heat and slow their metabolism to conserve energy. Nature provides — which is what some experts try to convey.
Surely, humans protect or accommodate species. In the United States, the eastern bluebird lacked nesting cavities.
One interference was competition by introduced species, such as the European starling; backyard nesting boxes enabled the bluebird’s recovery.
The song thrush in the United Kingdom now thrives because of backyard feeding. Cardinals, woodpeckers and nuthatches are some of the vulnerable species which people help in the winter.
For absolute enjoyment, attract common birdhouse tenants such as purple martins, house wrens and chickadees.
Feeders do entice diverse species — a welcome spectacle. However, the more birds, the more pathogens.
There is less chance of disease with separate feeders. For example, to avoid contamination between species, one feeder could provide sunflower seeds and another cracked corn and millet.
Sanitation is essential.
Consider the birdfeeder as a plate to be cleaned. Dispose of the debris under the feeder; it might cause sickness to ground-feeding birds or attract pests such as rats.
Precaution is vital. Since feathers carry diseases, avoid contact with a dead or ill bird. Also, use caution with urban birds — contagion is sometimes present. Bird droppings also transmit germs, many of them airborne. Still, birds rarely infect humans.
Evidently, humanitarians need to consider the many consequences of caring for birds.
The top priority is survival of these wild ones. Undeniably, their songs must continue, especially during the mating season. The males’ livelier, louder, and frequent songs while attempting to attract mates are heartening melodies. And those captivating vocals after the rain.