Feeding Birds

To: 'Barney Enders' <>, "" <>
Subject: Feeding Birds
From: Rob Gully <>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2016 03:04:46 +0000
Always love your contributions Barney.

Rob Gully

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Barney Enders
Sent: Friday, 5 February 2016 11:37 AM
Subject: Feeding Birds

I don't want to get involved in the discussion for or against on feeding
birds but a couple of things I would like to suggest to those that do.
Feeding to much Black Sunflower to Parrots and Cockatoos is a no, no, as any
one that has breed them in aviaries will tell you, Grey Sunflower is the one
to use but will cost extra to buy but doesn't cause the feather problems
Black does.

Good wild bird seed includes Grey where most cheaper ones use Black, most
bird seeds include seed that are only there to help fill the bag.
Sorghum, Safflower Wheat, Barley and Corn are rarely eaten by parrots
especially Neophemas, Red-rumps etc as they are too hard but will be eaten
by pigeons etc if they are coming into the feeders.
You will notice the Sunflower is always the first seed to be eaten.
Don't worry about the seed being small, Glossy Black-Cockatoos, Galahs  etc
eat Casuarina seeds, Galahs Corellas and Sulphur-crested thrive on
Cape-weed, Dock
seed etc     Eclectus Parrots in Aviaries love Plain Canary seed.

I once saw a massive flock of between 350 and 400 Carnaby's rise out of a
paddock of native grass and when I had a look at it the seed was as small as
Rye Grass seed.

Most breeders in their aviaries use Plain Canary seed as the main seed with
a mixture of White Millet, Jap.Millet, Panicum and a few Hulled Oats with a
small amount of Grey Sunflower,Linseed etc

Oil seeds, Rape (Canola) and Black Sunflower are not grown commercially for
bird seed they are for putting on your toast.

Most Parrots and Cockatoos time their breeding season to match the grains in
the paddocks when it is still in the milky stage, after stripping they are
forced to eat the hardened seed on the side of the roads or alternatively
seeding weeds, grasses and Wattles etc.

Canola seed is killing Short-billed Carnaby's  Black-Cockatoos in W A where
they are eating it in the paddocks and is impossible to prevent.

On a trip to W A I visited a guy who has had great success breeding
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos in his yard and around the town using Hollow logs
fitted to a plough disc fitted to the top of 2 or 3 inch pipe 20 to 25 feet
in the air, he also has a log tied to his chimney.
He works on the theory that the nesting trees are now too far away from the
Banksias etc due to clearing and he feeds them in his yard only during the
nesting season with great success as the food is close to the hollows
eliminating the long flights back to the large Gums which he thought it was
not letting the parents give enough feed to the young due to time wasted
flying back and forth the long distance.

He had over the years bred dozens of young including 13 from the log on the
chimney plus many more from the other logs in his yard and around the town.
He remarked that the year I was there he had trouble getting the young off
the ground because of feather trouble and I said "You are not feeding
Black Sunflower are you " and he said   "How did you know that ??? "
lesson learnt over many years.

Only being a pensioner and Sunflower was costing him $1200 a year and grey
had gone up in price he could only afford Black. ( Disaster)

Regarded as an acentric old fellow and ridiculed for a long time, his
practices regarding the types of nesting hollows etc are now being used by
the D P I and other organizations.

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Lloyd Nielsen
Sent: Thursday, 4 February 2016 8:43 AM
Subject: Feeding Birds

First let me say I have been feeding birds all my life. I see nothing wrong
with it as long as it is done responsibly.

Just a few points.

Creating a garden which will attract birds is the ultimate BUT how many
people have the ability, the inclination, the knowledge, the opportunity,
the time or a suitable block of land to do it? Very few I would think. As an
ex-nurseryman I would have loved to have done it but have never had the time
or the opportunity. There would be nothing better. In the district in which
I now live I know of only two gardens created to attract wildlife but I know
of many many people who have a feeder or water in their gardens just for the
birds. And as far as planting a garden of native plants for wildlife, that
is fine but it is only the dedicated (converted) who will do that. Most
people love that massive colour that exotics and some natives provide around
them - just watch the ABC TV Gardening Australia programme on a Saturday
night. When I was in the industry, we could sell 100 azaleas to about 10
(A considerable number of the azalea buyers will still have a feeder or
water in their garden though).

As far as disease goes, I have never seen a single example of a diseased
bird at or near any of the feeders I have used over the years. But then I
have always lived in the country and have fed birds responsibly. (I presume
it may probably be more of a problem in the cities).Surely some of these
diseases can be spread naturally. I have a Callistemon not far from my front
door which flowers profusely. It attracts probably 10 species of
honeyeaters, lorikeets, and others as well as beetles, butterflies and many
other insects by day. By night, fruit bats give it a thorough going over and
probably many other nocturnal life forms such as smaller mammals, moths and
so on. I should think it would be so easy to pass disease on when so many
creatures visit it.

Do people really feed cockatoos and other obnoxious species? They certainly
don't get a look in at my place.

There was a great story on our local ABC radio a week or so ago. An old
fellow had just retired and someone gave him a bird feeder. He knew nothing
about birds but was amazed at the birds it attracted. He bought himself a
field guide and now sits on his patio for a couple of hours each morning
watching and identifying the birds that come to the feeder.
Best thing he has ever done was his comment. And there are many more like
him out there! Isn't it better to advise him of the correct way to do it
rather than say "Sorry mate - you shouldn't feed birds", especially in this
day an age when our wildlife is still getting a walloping with habitat still
being destroyed at an alarming rate and giving way to urbanisation,
agriuculture and so on? Turning the general public away from feeding birds
surely must be a backward step. We need all the support from the general
public that we can get from a conservation point of view. We should be
fostering their interest which in turn will add some support, especially
when fighting conservation battles.

Lloyd  Nielsen
Mt Molloy, Nth Qld

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