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When to feed?
self portrait - circa 1996

 

Dear Friends:
According to the National Audubon Society, birds will not suffer if feeders go empty in the winter. Here is what they have to say on the subject: In most instances, "your" backyard birds have a feeding tour that includes many neighborhood feeders as well as natural foods. Unless you provide enormous amounts of food and live in an isolated location, it is likely the birds that visit your feeders will not suffer if you leave your feeders empty for a few weeks of winter vacation.
    Feeding birds is certainly not as helpful as improving backyard habitat through landscaping, which provides food for a wider variety of birds, as well as shelter, nesting places, and perches. But one thing is certain: feeding helps close the distance between wild birds and people, and may also reduce the risk of predation, since "feeder birds" spend less time foraging and have more time to watch for predators. In one study, food from feeders made up only 21 percent of the birds’ daily energy requirement and suggests that winter-feeding does not promote dependency. We recommend keeping feeders: well-spaced, clean, and full year round. That way you can enjoy the greatest benefit of feeding the birds: getting to see a variety of birds and behavior up close.
    For more information visit: www.audubon.org and/or the Aububon Magazine online.   
Louise Dawson

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J.J. Cardinal's Wild Bird & Nature Store ®
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12830 S. Saginaw Street, Grand Blanc, Michigan   810-695-8733
Originally posted 10/20/02 illustrations, text & fun © J.J. Cardinal's 2002
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