Safety in Bird Feeding
By Shirley Bullock
The Passenger Pigeon is on its way to extinction along with a plethora of wildlife and plant species. I would like to talk to you about safety in bird watching.
Bird feeding can be one of the most rewarding hobbies a person can indulge in. Not only are the various species kind to the eye and a delight to watch, but you play a role in their survival.
Young and old alike can participate in bird watching. Safety can be maintained with a few rules. The first thing a prospective bird watcher needs to do is purchase (or borrow from the library) a field guide to bird identification. Second, is to find information on habitat and feeding habits; especially if the bird is territorial and will try to protect its’ nesting area.
Keep safety in regard to both animal and human health. Various birds need different food and shelter in order to survive.
You the birder need to make sure your equipment is in tip top order, and you have shelter from the elements while enjoying your hobby. Remember sunscreen, bug repellent and your cell phone. Always let someone know where you are going. ( You will probably in more danger from humans than flora or fauna).
Feeders need to be placed where the birds have easy access. Few people realize when feeding their feathered friends, they can be setting them up to be meals themselves. It is a fine rope to walk when making the feeder predator proof.
Keeping squirrels at bay may not be as important where you live than protection from hawks, cats and raccoons. Hawks can and will make a salad bar from the very birds you are trying to help.
I myself have come to the conclusion that squirrels may keep the few nuts they steal, I do not want to feed a goldfinch to a hawk. Most hawks are protected wildlife, so call your state fish and wildlife department and ask how you can steer those species away from your yard.
Make sure your feeders and houses are under your watchful eye and are easy for you to care for without becoming injured yourself. A feeder on a window can become a nightmare when your two year old crashes through the window after the ‘pretty birdie’.
Keep the feeders on ground floor windows and waterers where little hands can’t turn them over on themselves. Ensure that water gardens are not deep enough for a child to drown in.
Many birds commit unintentional suicide on windows. Place reflectors on windows near feeders and bird house so your tenants won’t fly into them.
Some birds become territorial and want to fight the trespasser (reflection). Hang pie tins, or place a statue of an owl or snake on the sill will help in most instances.
In the case of hummingbirds, males can become aggressive and guard the feeders. More than one feeder and plenty of bird friendly plants around will add to your property’s appeal.
Please do not throw rice at weddings. Birds eat the rice, the rice swells and their stomachs explode. Do not release balloons in the air; they can choke on the rubber or become entangled in the strings.
Please encourage others not to throw out trash that can poison or entrap your feathered friend.
These are just a few points I hope you will find helpful.
At the top of the page is another predator. Ewwwwwwww Geri.
Causes Shirley Bullock Supports
4-H, and council for the arts