Re Backyard bird feeding

To: Greg Clancy <>
Subject: Re Backyard bird feeding
From: Peter Woodall <>
Date: Fri, 05 Nov 2004 17:05:40 +1000
I always wonder why putting out water for the birds is deemed OK by the "authorities" but not food.

Can anyone explain the difference?

To me, they are both resources that are often limiting, as evidenced by the way birds will often flock to water,
and both can affect the "subtle ecological balance", etc etc


At 05:31 PM 5/11/2004 +1100, you wrote:
While it is tempting to attract birds to our backyards by providing food of various types there are a number of reasons for not doing so. The problem of dependence on artificial food is only one, minor, reason. Concentrating birds in unnatural aggregations can make them more prone to predation, can favour large aggressive birds that dominate the yard, can upset natural behaviour, can upset the subtle ecological balance (which has already been disturbed by creating the garden) and can assist with the spread of disease. On the NSW North Coast species like Noisy Miners, Blue-faced Honeyeaters, Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Australian King-Parrots, Australian Magpies, Pied and Grey Butcherbirds and Laughing Kookaburras are birds that are frequently fed in gardens. The large honeyeaters and lorikeets are also attracted to gardens because of extensive plantings of 'bird attractant" grevilleas and bottlebrush. Who are the losers? The small birds that are becoming increasingly scarce due to habitat loss - that's who. Feeding birds in gardens isn't the only problem. Developing gardens that attract larger birds to the detriment of the smaller birds also plays its part.

There is a compromise. Providing clean water and a garden full of locally occurring native trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and grasses will be a much greater help to our birds than by artificially feeding them. Remember, if you are feeding birds you are doing it for your benefit - not the birds.


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