[Tweeters] Feeders , Pine Siskins and Disease

THOMAS BENEDICT benedict.t at comcast.net
Fri Jan 22 15:39:22 PST 2021

Keith Carlson asks:

>Is this not an admission that Winter feeding is not necessary/useful and done for our pleasure, not for the birds ?.

We bait wild animals for our pleasure not theirs. In many cases, especially bird feeders, the harm to the wild animal is limited. In some places, some species will may not survive without our feeding, but most will do fine. Baiting of wild birds via feeders is mostly benign, but it's definitely for our benefit, not the birds. Here in the Puget Trough, there's plenty of natural food for birds. Might be different in other areas.

Of course, we've messed up the natural habitat so much that the wild food supply is inconsistent in many places. That argues that we have an obligation to put out bait as a supplementary food source.

The winter elk feeding programs in eastern Washington are not done for survival reasons. Rather its done to keep the animals out of the fields and orchards.

If it wasn't for sugar water baiting I doubt whether we'd have hummingbirds in the winter. That baiting provides just enough supplement to the natural nectars and bugs for the Anna's to get through the winter.

I like seeing them in my yard, so I will keep putting out a suet cake every couple of weeks. And if it freezes hard for a few days I'll put out some water. I'll get the pleasure of periodic glimpses into the lives of handful of birds as they go about their daily survival chores.

Tom Benedict
Seahurst, WA
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