I was reluctant to get involved in this after Greg Clancy was accused of "utter
claptrap", and following the recent complaints about spelling and grammar, and
posting reports, I didn't want to contribute to raising the temperature again.
However I offer this for what it is worth:
Twenty years ago, we moved on to a bush block and I scattered seed over a large
area. I did not use a feeder which concentrates the birds. I thought that was
the best way to do things.
And it was great. We had Butcher Birds, Magpies, Galahs, King Parrots, Rainbow
Lorikeets, Crows. All the time.
After a while, I stopped putting seed out, and most of those birds became less
frequent visitors. But what we found was an increase in Blue Wrens, Red-browed
and Double-barred Finches, various honeyeaters - Black-chinned, Brown, Fuscous,
White-throated, Scarlet, Little and Noisy Friarbirds, the occasional Red-backed
Fairy Wren, Eastern Yellow Robin ...
Two of the migratory species, Rufous Fantail and Eastern Spinebill and the
Restless and Leaden Flycatchers might not have have had a connection to our
stopping feeding and putting out a birdbath. But we started to see them when we
did do that.
So, we're with Greg on that.
The other thing that makes us believe that it is better not to feed is at our
other house. There were a few Rainbows about, and people liked that. So a lot
started throwing out seed and bread. When the numbers increased to huge
flocks, the screeching annoyed these same people who then wanted "something
done". Eventually they stopped feeding, the numbers have reduced, and people
For us, while it might be anecdotal, we are convinced the that creating/keeping
natural habitat, and providing water, is the best way to keep a diversity and
more natural mix of birds. We initially fed the birds for those "good"
reasons, but ultimately it was mostly for our own enjoyment.
It is paradoxical that when we stopped putting out seed, our enjoyment
increased simply because we had a greater diversity of birds. We still see the
occasional King Parrot with yellow where it shouldn't be, and we rightly or
wrongly put that down to others along the lane who do feed large numbers on
While we prefer not to feed birds, we accept that many do it, and that there is
a range of views on this.
The conservation battle is never finally won; the development battle is.
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