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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

All of us who have put up birdfeeders in Winter(and Summer) feel that we are doing something to enhance the avian biodiversity of our neighborhoods, farms and ranches..............As has been documented again and again for at least a decade, this supposed "kindness" likely puts birds at risk via transmission by a plethora of diseases, easier attacks by predators(including our pet cats) and flying into windows at the feeder site..................."Feeding birds is not necessary for their survival ---"Stephen Kress, vice president for bird conservation at the National Audubon Society".............."Poor garden feeder hygiene, droppings accumulations and stale food are promoting the transmission of illnesses between garden birds as the animals repeatedly congregate in the same location, coming into contact with species they would not usually interact with in the wild"............"You and I can combat these diseases by regularly disinfecting feeders and feeding sites and rotating the position of feeders on your property"

When managing birdfeeders, think bird health and safety

February 5, 2019 by Dean Fosdick

Feeding birds in winter is one of the nation's most popular wildlife-watching activities, yet many ornithologists say it's often more rewarding for people than for birds. And it might even put wild birds at risk.

This Oct. 4, 2014 photo taken near Langley, Wash., shows a Northern Flicker feeding at an oversized suet feeder built especially for woodpeckers. Some birds are more aggressive eaters than others so it's wise to feed at different locations using different kinds of seeds and feeders. (Dean Fosdick via AP)

"Feeding  is not necessary for their survival except in extreme weather conditions," said Stephen Kress, vice president for  at the National Audubon Society. "Feeders can definitely help them get through that kind of weather."
Most birds are insect eaters and aren't attracted to backyard feeders. "For those birds, I recommend planting natural habitat and native plants," Kress said.
Besides, birds who do eat seed "will be more likely to come to feeders if there is some cover nearby. They'll be able to feed and dodge back into the safety of shrubbery."
The most common error people make when managing bird feeders is incorrect placement—putting them in locations where birds are frightened by foot traffic, vulnerable to predation by cats, or at risk of flying into windows.
"If a feeder is within 3 feet of a window, it's better," Kress said. "If a bird is spooked, it won't be killed when it strikes the glass. And keep your cats indoors so they can't stalk vulnerable birds and animals."

Learn which  frequent your area so you can avoid feeder wars and understand the pecking order.
"Some birds are more aggressive at feeders," Kress said. "Their eating habits are such that they can consume a lot and not leave much for the others."
One answer to that is to feed at multiple locations using different kinds of seeds and feeders. Nyjer seeds, for instance, attract goldfinches, while tube feeders with wire covers prevent large birds from entering.
Pay attention to seed quality and freshness. Unprotected seed left too long in feeders will turn moldy, and mold can kill foraging wildlife. Refresh your feeders every few days and clean them frequently by soaking in a solution of 10 percent bleach.
"You can feed more effectively and efficiently by using black-oil sunflower seeds, as it is the preferred seed by most feeder birds," said Adam Rohnke, a senior Extension associate at Mississippi State University. "An added benefit is reducing waste seed (on the ground) from  mixes which can attract rodents."
"Boost the number and diversity of bird species by providing different types of feeders to resemble their natural feeding behaviors," Rohnke said in an email. "For example, ground-dwelling birds such as doves, towhees and others prefer low platform feeders because they feed on the ground."
Along with black-oil sunflower and nyjer seeds, feeder-friendly birds like suet (woodpeckers, jays, songbirds), fruit (orioles, bluebirds, waxwings) and mealworms (robins, chickadees, wrens).
Do not feed  anything salty (whole peanuts, crackers, potato chips) or food that could choke them (plain bread, fats).

Provide a steady supply of clean water but shop around for shallow birdbath designs. Most are too deep for birds, Kress said.
Placing a few large stones in a birdbath can provide perches.
"Hummingbirds like to bathe in leaves, so spray large leaves to attract them," Kress said.
More information: Online: For more about feeding birds, see this Stanford University fact sheet: … s/Feeding_Birds.html


Garden bird feeders help spread disease among wild birds.....Some previously rare illnesses are becoming epidemics in some bird populations, scientists say

Patrick Greenfield; 3/12/18

A 35% drop in the population of breeding greenfinches in the British Isles since 2005 illustrates why disinfecting feeders is key to protecting the birds. Photograph: Alamy

Garden bird feeders are contributing to the spread of serious diseases among wild birds, scientists have warned, causing previously rare illnesses to become epidemics in some populations.
Poor garden feeder hygiene, droppings accumulations and stale food are promoting the transmission of illnesses between garden birds as the animals repeatedly congregate in the same location, coming into contact with species they would not usually interact with in the wild.
A study by the Zoological Society of London, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and Fera Science analysed more than 25 years of wild bird health data, including the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, and found dramatic changes in some British bird populations, which scientists believe could have been caused by disease spread at bird feeding sites.“We’re calling on everyone who feeds wild birds to be aware of their responsibilities for preventing disease.

 Simple steps we’d recommend include offering a variety of food from accredited sources; feeding in moderation, so that feeders are typically emptied every one to two days; the regular cleaning of bird feeders; and rotation of feeding sites to avoid accumulation of waste food or bird droppings,” said Kate Risely, from BTO.

The study analysed data on the protozoan parasite responsible for finch trichomonosis, which has caused a 35% drop in the population of breeding greenfinches in the British Isles, falling from 4.3m to 2.8m birds since the disease emerged in 2005.
Gardeners can combat the disease by regularly disinfecting feeders and feeding sites, and rotating the position of feeders in the garden.
Paridae pox and passerine salmonellosis were also analysed by scientists.
The study’s lead author, Becki Lawson from ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, said: “Our study shows how three of the most common diseases that affect British garden birds have changed both dramatically and unpredictably over the past decade, both in terms of the species they affect and their patterns of occurrence.
“Both finch trichomonosis and Paridae pox have emerged recently, causing disease epidemics affecting large numbers of birds, while passerine salmonellosis – previously a common condition – appears to have reduced to a very low level. These conditions have different means of transmission – so deepening our understanding of disease dynamics will help us develop best practice advice to ensure that feeding garden birds also helps to safeguard their health.

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