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American Backyard Feeders May Do Harm to Wild Birds
The Wall Street Journal ^ | Friday, December 27, 2002 | JAMES P. STERBA

Posted on 12/27/2002 1:16:53 PM PST by TroutStalker

Edited on 04/22/2004 11:47:47 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Last year, Americans spent $2.6 billion on birdseed. That's more than twice as much as they spent on prepared baby food, and two and a half times as much as they spent on food for needy nations. They shelled out a further $733 million on feeders, houses and baths for birds.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: enviralists
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1 posted on 12/27/2002 1:16:53 PM PST by TroutStalker
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To: TroutStalker
If you want to feed birds, the best way to go about it IMO is to scatter a widely dispersed handful of seed over the ground every couple of days. That way, there's not a huge concentrated amount in one place to draw other animals, not enough to sit and rot and the birds hop all over looking for it, treating it as a pleasant windfall among other things they gather (as opposed to getting dependent on a feeder) and ensuring that they aren't clustered too closely together. You'll still get the birds, just not in a way that conditions their behavior in a detrimental manner or puts them at significant risk.
2 posted on 12/27/2002 1:26:08 PM PST by coydog
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To: TroutStalker
.... and two and a half times as much as they spent on food for needy nations.

Feed a wild bird, and you have the beauty and grace of a semi-tamed bird to share with the family. Send food to a needy-country and we can watch them as they shoot and kill soldiers; riot, loot and kidnap, kill rescue workers, then commit acts of terrorism and then blame us for thier actions. I'll take my chances with the 5 Cardinals and 3 BlueJays outside of my home.

3 posted on 12/27/2002 1:26:53 PM PST by Hodar
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To: TroutStalker
My son got a bird-feeder for the yard but all I ever see is squirrels hanging off the thing upside down and a big pile of sunflower seed shells on the ground below.
4 posted on 12/27/2002 1:29:44 PM PST by SamAdams76
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To: TroutStalker
...and two and a half times as much as they spent on food for needy nations...

That alerted my BS METER when I read it - see below, which is just one source of US aid to needy nations...

Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development

Official Development Assistance (ODA) for 1999 and 2000


Click on column headings that are links to change sort order
ODA in U.S. Dollars
(Millions)
ODA as Percentage
of GNP
Country 1999 2000 2001 1999 2000 2001

1. Denmark 1,733 1,664 1,599 1.01 1.06 1.01
2. Norway 1,370 1,264 1,346 0.91 0.8 0.83
3. Netherlands 3,134 3,075 3,155 0.79 0.82 0.82
4. Luxembourg 119 116 142 0.66 0.7 0.8
5. Sweden 1,630 1,813 1,576 0.7 0.81 0.76
6. Belgium 760 812 866 0.3 0.36 0.37
7. Switzerland 969 888 908 0.35 0.34 0.34
8. France 5,637 4,221 4,293 0.39 0.33 0.34
9. Ireland 245 239 285 0.31 0.3 0.33
10. Finland 416 371 389 0.33 0.31 0.33
11. United Kingdom 3,401 4,458 4,659 0.23 0.31 0.32
12. Spain 1,363 1,321 1,748 0.23 0.24 0.3
13. Germany 5,515 5,034 4,879 0.26 0.27 0.27
14. Portugal 276 261 267 0.26 0.26 0.25
15. New Zealand 134 116 111 0.27 0.26 0.25
16. Austria 527 461 457 0.26 0.25 0.25
17. Australia 982 995 852 0.26 0.27 0.25
18. Japan 15,323 13,062 9,678 0.35 0.27 0.23
19. Canada 1,699 1,722 1,572 0.28 0.25 0.23
20. Greece 194 216 194 0.15 0.19 0.19
21. Italy 1,806 1,368 1,493 0.15 0.13 0.14
22. United States 9,145 9,581 10,884 0.1 0.1 0.11

5 posted on 12/27/2002 1:30:06 PM PST by Oldeconomybuyer
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To: TroutStalker
My bad.
6 posted on 12/27/2002 1:32:30 PM PST by Ditter
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Do those figures include all aid such as medical, military, economic development, debt relief, etc. not just food?
7 posted on 12/27/2002 1:37:08 PM PST by TroutStalker
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Good catch. The other trigger for the BS Meter was when he said 98 million to one billion birds die crashing into windows. If that were true, we wouldn't be able to walk on the sidewalks. That's a lot of birds.
8 posted on 12/27/2002 1:39:16 PM PST by exit82
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To: SamAdams76
"My son got a bird-feeder for the yard but all I ever see is squirrels hanging off the thing upside down and a big pile of sunflower seed shells on the ground below"

My in-laws gave us a bird feeder with a unique twist. It has a large metal ring orbiting the bottom. When something as heavy as a squirrel gets on it, it vibrates violently. The squirrel does a triple gainer with couple of twists and hits the ground.

9 posted on 12/27/2002 1:40:06 PM PST by groanup
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To: exit82
"Feed me...now!"


10 posted on 12/27/2002 1:43:49 PM PST by ErnBatavia
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To: TroutStalker
I don't know for sure, but suspect that's just one budget item in our overall foreign aid expenditures and does NOT include charitable contributions by individual Americans.

I'm sure our total spending on the "needy" is many times more than that of bird feed. I'm also sure the author is a moron and their editor is asleep.
11 posted on 12/27/2002 1:43:51 PM PST by Oldeconomybuyer
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
I'm sure our total spending on the "needy" is many times more than that of bird feed. I'm also sure the author is a moron and their editor is asleep.

Well said

12 posted on 12/27/2002 1:49:33 PM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: Hodar
Oh yes, Blue Birds, Chicadees, Robins, Jays, Finches and the like. Our yard is officially declared a Wildlife Habitat. WE get an occasional squirrel but that's it. The birds are beautiful and much better to look at than the nightly news. Like you, we will take our chances with the birds. They are most appreciative and bring great joy to all of us who watch them. Oh and yes, we have the hummingbird feeders for summer also. My husband always begins to look for these beautiful little creatures in May and is saddened when they leave us in the fall. God gave us the birds to enjoy and we'll thank the rest of those naysayers to say out of our backyards!!!!!!!!!!

Seems there's always someone trying to put the damper on activities that have been enjoyed for years and years. Now along comes an article like this. To me it is silly, and just another thing to gripe about or tell us we are doing something wrong.

We'll continue to responsibly feed and enjoy our birds and hope you do to. :)
13 posted on 12/27/2002 1:54:33 PM PST by cubreporter
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To: Fiddlstix
I was waiting to get to the part where birdfeeders are responsible for the North Korean nuclear program. I suppose if we would just divert the birdseed fortune into fuel oil we could calm the Koreans and also spare Mother Earth the wanton devastation being wrought by sunflower seeds.
14 posted on 12/27/2002 1:58:48 PM PST by Williams
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To: TroutStalker
mmmmm...cardinals and blue jays.
15 posted on 12/27/2002 2:03:05 PM PST by thepitts
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To: groanup
My in-laws gave us a bird feeder with a unique twist. It has a large metal ring orbiting the bottom. When something as heavy as a squirrel gets on it, it vibrates violently. The squirrel does a triple gainer with couple of twists and hits the ground.

Squirrrels are destructive fuzzy-tailed rats IMO. They will strip your birdfeeders of sunflowers and suet if not "controlled" so we employ various methods to discourage them from visiting our yard.

We enjoy our Cardinals, Blue Jays, Chickadees, Yellow-Finches Nuthatches and various Woodpeckers. We don't enjoy squirrels and discourage their presence, keep them at bay.

Yes, there are some bird crashes into windows, but few are fatal. Cats catch none of our birds because the feeders are out in the open, where the cats cannot sneak up on the birds. A litle common sense goes a long way.

We'll decide what we do in feeding birds, regardless of what some "expert" says. We enjoy watching the birds, feed them twelve months a year and take pleasure in each new generation that grows up knowing our yard is a friendly place with a dependable food supply.

16 posted on 12/27/2002 2:03:16 PM PST by toddst
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To: ErnBatavia
You singlehandedly just caused me to remove my birdfeeder and those of ten of my closest neighbors. Yikes! I'm cured!
17 posted on 12/27/2002 2:05:33 PM PST by exit82
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To: Hodar
Feed a wild bird, and you have the beauty and grace of a semi-tamed bird to share with the family. Send food to a needy-country and we can watch them as they shoot and kill soldiers; riot, loot and kidnap, kill rescue workers, then commit acts of terrorism and then blame us for thier actions. I'll take my chances with the 5 Cardinals and 3 BlueJays outside of my home.

Amen.

18 posted on 12/27/2002 2:07:55 PM PST by SAMWolf
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To: TroutStalker
The "gold ring" for me is a hawk swooping in and taking a bird, with me sitting front-row. Nature rocks!
19 posted on 12/27/2002 2:11:37 PM PST by dasboot
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To: Hodar
Most food aid sent to 3rd world countries ends up either rotting, used as a weapon by political enemies or encourages over-population which starts the cycle all over again.

I'm a pragmatic conservative.

Let nature take it's course.

Survival of the fittest.

Intelligent humans have adapted to many adversities.

Mugabe, Castro and Kim Eel Jung only think they are smart.

They all rule through the barrel of a gun.

20 posted on 12/27/2002 2:14:34 PM PST by CROSSHIGHWAYMAN
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To: cubreporter
Oh and yes, we have the hummingbird feeders for summer also. My husband always begins to look for these beautiful little creatures in May and is saddened when they leave us in the fall.

Those are my favorites too. I look forward to them zipping back and forth, then hovering in place.

21 posted on 12/27/2002 2:23:53 PM PST by TroutStalker
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To: exit82
You singlehandedly just caused me to remove my birdfeeder and those of ten of my closest neighbors.

Now you've done it! You've angered your chickadees and p*ssed off your cardinals. I wouldn't want to be in your shoes when the word gets out in Birdland. :|

22 posted on 12/27/2002 2:29:47 PM PST by FreeReign
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To: coydog
I use a feeder & suet blocks myself. I manage the birds by not refilling them as often. To force the birds to find it elsewere also, so they don't depend on me. I also 'broadcast' it in the street (I live on a dead end street), this provides for the squirrels, ground birds like dove and chinese pheasant. The LORD put birds on this planet for our enjoyment, and I don't get to 'worked-up' about the EXTREMEIST Envrios. I have a pellet gun that I use on unwanted cats and the like. I have not had to use it as much as one would think. A good scream or two works wonders.
23 posted on 12/27/2002 2:30:22 PM PST by Phyto Chems
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To: TroutStalker
First they tell us the greedy farmer is planting fence to fence leaving no weedy plants for birds and now we're bad for feeding the hungry birds. Now what do I do with the 150 pounds of bird seed in my garage. and about the rats...that's what my Sheridan pellet gun is for.
24 posted on 12/27/2002 2:30:38 PM PST by tubebender
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To: TroutStalker
All the world seems in tune
On a spring afternoon,
When we're poisoning pigeons in the park.
Ev'ry Sunday you'll see
My sweetheart and me,
As we poison the pigeons in the park.

When they see us coming, the birdies all try an' hide,
But they still go for peanuts when coated with cyanide.
The sun's shining bright,
Ev'rything seems all right,
When we're poisoning pigeons in the park.
- Lehrer

25 posted on 12/27/2002 2:33:24 PM PST by steveo
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To: TroutStalker
My favorite bird feeder is a ground maze dispenser set on a timer for just before sunrise and just at sunset. Then wait in the bushes 10 yards away and wait for the quail and dove to show up.
26 posted on 12/27/2002 2:35:52 PM PST by BJClinton
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To: TroutStalker
Birdseed-industry officials acknowledge that disease, predators and window collisions around feeders kill birds

Hah! The other day about 15 birds flew onto my back porch to feed on the dog's food. Our 13 year old cat couldn't resist and {WHAM!}, he tried jumping through the sliding glass door. He bloodied his nose in the effort.

Later that night, our other cat caught and killed a mouse underneath our bird feeder. I'd say nature has a way of evening things out.

27 posted on 12/27/2002 2:40:09 PM PST by csvset
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To: dasboot
Hawks - When I came this afternoon, two hawks were screaming across our front woods. Beautiful specimens of nature, high and wild. Nature is His present to we mortals. To be enjoyed by all. (We feed those gorgeous gifts, too.)
28 posted on 12/27/2002 2:48:56 PM PST by raisincane
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To: TroutStalker
I know some extortionist birds that are gonna be pretty mad when they read about this!
29 posted on 12/27/2002 2:51:42 PM PST by LurkerNoMore!
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To: TroutStalker
I have several Absolute bird feeders - with a counter-weighted seed cover that can be set by weight. When a heavy bird such as a blue Jay or squirrel hops on, the seed opening slams shut. The blue jays still get food, but they have to be quick! Most give up. This gives us lots of finches, cardinals, etc.

I do miss having squirrels to practice my pellet gun skills with.

30 posted on 12/27/2002 2:53:26 PM PST by NorthGA
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To: TroutStalker
At the Millerton Agway gardening center in Millerton, N.Y., birdseed virtually flies out of the store in wintertime, says manager Paul O'Neil.

I thought he would get a better job than that after resigning. ;-)

31 posted on 12/27/2002 2:57:32 PM PST by Brett66
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To: *Enviralists
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
32 posted on 12/27/2002 3:01:35 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP
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To: SamAdams76
I had the same problem, I saw in a bird store a squirrel protector all it was, was a 6" stove pipe about 2' or 3' long and had a cap on the top end, with a hole cut into it so it 3/4" EMT would slide through it. It was held up on the EMT by a hose clamp and the bottom just swung free. The squirrel can't grab onto it and they have not bothered my feeders for over a year or so now. They wanted $50.00 for one at the store, but I went to the hardware store and bought the parts and was up and running for the cost of about $5.00. Hope this helps.
33 posted on 12/27/2002 3:02:40 PM PST by Phyto Chems
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To: NorthGA
Use nothing but Safflower seed. The squirrels won't touch it but the cardinals love it.
34 posted on 12/27/2002 3:05:10 PM PST by csmusaret
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To: Brett66
heheh
35 posted on 12/27/2002 3:07:38 PM PST by LurkerNoMore!
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To: TroutStalker
I like feeding the birds in my backyard. They are interesting critters, fun to watch and cause no real damage to my property. The cats also seem to view the birdfeeder was a bait station, as I find one or two presents a month on the back porch from the cats.
36 posted on 12/27/2002 3:10:50 PM PST by Fzob
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To: Phyto Chems
Gosh, I just keep out enough feed for the squirrels also. We usually buy shelled corn, deer corn in this part of the country, and keep it out for the squirrels. I like them also. They don't seem to bother the bird feeders. My cat doesn't bother the birds - but they do bother her. She has one mockingbird that dive bombs her everytime she goes outside.

Please don't tell me the person writing this has a government grant---

37 posted on 12/27/2002 3:12:05 PM PST by nanny
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To: nanny
We call them welfare birds but we enjoy them anyway... and what's wrong with our cats catching a few? Saves on cat food and keeps them from being bored.
38 posted on 12/27/2002 3:16:22 PM PST by Mercat
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To: Mercat
That's one way of looking at it. I don't feed birds during the times when there is natural food around - just during winter or a severely dry times. Shucks, I feed anything that comes to my door hungry.
39 posted on 12/27/2002 3:22:29 PM PST by nanny
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To: TroutStalker
I'm an occasional birder, my son in Co. is 6 steps above an avid birder.

I feed them seeds, thistle, and suet. Can't imagine not helping them out. After last weeks ice storm they were hungry, flocking to my feeders.

My 'thing' is red-headed woodpeckers. They are uncommon nowadays.
Last year I had one at my feeder for several weeks. She then brought 2 young with her ( their heads are brown). That was exciting.

My son in Co. is into photographing them. He has become quite good. If I had a website I'd post one or two.

40 posted on 12/27/2002 3:24:52 PM PST by Vinnie
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To: TroutStalker
My response to this article is: BULL***T!
41 posted on 12/27/2002 3:27:13 PM PST by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: Hodar
You said that so well that I have quoted you already!
42 posted on 12/27/2002 3:54:19 PM PST by Lady Jag
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To: NoControllingLegalAuthority
i agree. i quit putting out bird feed because of the squirrels, and i still have lots of birds around. and to think a bird won't migrate because of a food supply is plain ignorant.
43 posted on 12/27/2002 3:59:56 PM PST by libbylu
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To: toddst
"We'll decide what we do in feeding birds, regardless of what some "expert" says"

We will too. These "experts" are telling us that our feeding the birds is killing them. In my experience with birds I can unequivocably state that if they are dying off at the bird feeders they will figure it out soon enough and avoid the feeders. Birds can learn to adapt faster than any animal I know.

44 posted on 12/27/2002 4:09:56 PM PST by groanup
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To: TroutStalker
With their handouts of food, they helped create huge populations of so-called welfare wildlife.

The article is fairly true ---welfare isn't really ever a good thing, it just creates dependency and increased populations of the dependent types.

45 posted on 12/27/2002 4:30:43 PM PST by FITZ
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To: Phyto Chems
I put ears of corn out for the squirrels, now they are too fat to make it onto the bird feeders. And if things get really tough, we'll have corn-fed squirrel for dinner.
46 posted on 12/27/2002 4:32:55 PM PST by osagebowman
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To: dasboot
We've seen the same thing happen, we refer to the feeder in the front yard as the "birdie cafeteria", sparrows sometimes get snatched mid-bite. Several times I've not seen any birds feeding at their stations and looked up to see a rd-tailed hawk circling the yard, they are beautiful in flight.
47 posted on 12/27/2002 4:37:25 PM PST by osagebowman
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To: SamAdams76
Switch to safflower seeds and shoot the squirrels with a pellet rifle. I personally dont like sunflower seeds because they will sprout in the grass......
48 posted on 12/27/2002 4:40:09 PM PST by Hot Tabasco
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To: TroutStalker
I've got thistle feeders which supply the demands of a bunch of goldfinches and a feeder on the back deck which supplies a flock of approx. 15 doves daily as well as a bunch of purple finches. The damn doves are eating me out of house and home. I now buy 50 lb. bags of safflower to keep them satisfied. All things being equal, I enjoy watching them sit on my back railings between eating times and waiting for me to refill the feeders when they are empty.......
49 posted on 12/27/2002 4:44:41 PM PST by Hot Tabasco
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To: dasboot
The "gold ring" for me is a hawk

Yea, I've got a hawk around too. Looked out my front window yesterday just as he went closely swooping by. I went outside and checked the side and back of the house but evidently he flew off hungry...... Nevertheless, it was pretty cool to see him......

50 posted on 12/27/2002 4:49:49 PM PST by Hot Tabasco
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