Feeding the Birds

If you are feeding birds you are in good company . Birding is one of North America’s favorite pastimes.  A 2006 report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that about 55.5 million Americans provide food for wild birds. Most feeders are found in urban areas where natural habitat is not found.  Feeding birds requires some basic information to keep them healthy.

Cornell Labs did a seed preference test study to find out what birds like to eat from feeders.  The  black sunflowers are the best feed for most species of  birds and the standard mix of seed often bought is wasteful as the birds pick out the prized sunflower seeds and leave the milo, millet, oats, wheat, flax and buckwheat seeds.  These uneaten seeds fall to the ground and foster mold and bacteria growth which can make the birds sick.  Not only can this discarded seed cause problems but poorly maintained feeders can contribute to the spread of infection and diseases and the feeders themselves pose hazards with sharp edges, too deep of  tray for feeding safely and placed out in the open with no protection for the birds.

As the Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary is a natural area we do not encourage feeders for many of the reasons pointed out above.  Indeed we have found injured or dead birds in or near the feeders some have placed on the Sanctuary. We encourage people to feed in their own yards were they can keep an eye on feeders and birds as well as cleaning the feeders and spilled seed.