Feeding Wild Birds

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by sourland, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

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    I live on the East coast, New Jersey to be specific. I have lived in the same home for 54 years and have fed the wild birds that entire time. This year populations are at an all time low. I would guess somewhere around 20 % of what normally feed here and at a wildlife club where I also feed. I was wondering if anyone else has noted a similar decrease in wild bird populations. I know that West Nile hit here fairly hard last year. Perhaps that is what caused the reduction ?
     
  2. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    I suspect that weather patterns may be having a bigger effect than a local disease. Today is the first time that I have seen a Gray Catbird here this late in the year.
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    The normal birds are here now too. Last year was totally different weather patterns and totally different local bird population at this time of year. Last year was the first winter that the Juncos were here all winter along with a lone Mountain Chickadee.
     
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Maybe those swarms of buffalo gnats so many faced... or the new castle outbreak has had some sort of effect as well.

    I suspected the wild populations of several animal types would decrease around my immediate property as a side effect of my own activities, specifically keeping other animals. Indeed I have seen less wild California quail over the 5 years I've been here. Too many moves in the past mostly noted the changing view and visibility of the constellations. The white crowned sparrow (free load off shrapnel some) seem to still thrive (in over grown shrub piles) as well as the rats and squirrels (according to the sounds I here and my dogs focus up the tree at times). A barn swallow nested on my patio this year for the first time. So many birds are only here seasonally (it seems), but I do feel like I've seen lower number of Robin and maybe Steller's Jays even (they are here right now in smaller # than past season SO far). Still plenty of crow/raven. The gophers and moles seem to be thriving as there's no shortage of new holes/mounds daily. One of my livestock predator dogs (adopted pets of nonspecific breeds , any guarding/deterring is bonus as they were here first) actively hunts the holes, trees, bushes, etc.

    Is the explosion of back yard flocks along with advancements in transportation, shipping, and social networking speeding things like Marek's through wild bird populations? So many unknowns that make me go hmmm...

    Some things I have yet to identify as it has been a process getting familiar with all the different flora and fauna on just my property, let alone the region. What an amazing feat to be in a single location for 54 years!

    I did have a barn cat move in, I discovered. She cleared my barn while raising her kittens and fed them many things including squirrel (I found one dead in the barn, later only a strip of its' tail was left) and rat (husband saw it in her mouth). She left the day I was gonna start feeding her INSIDE a trap for spaying as she looked haggard I had decided if a cat was going to be at my place it should be healthy and having plenty of energy and nutrients from a formulated ration would not deter hunting but rather deter parasites and disease. Shortly after, not realizing she (and at least 1 of her offspring) would be making her rounds back this way ,I adopted 2 feral fixed barn kittens to give a job to as battling rodents without using poison has been a challenge. At my vet check up, he said domestic cats have decimated populations of wild birds locally and he did not condone outdoor cats, but those with jobs may serve a purpose. Meanwhile in attempt to stop my own dog pack of 3 (yes, that's really too many for me but we all have reasons) from doing the same as they had to any other animal they're able to catch and don't recognize as their own, we kept the kittens inside, friendlied them up and familiarized them. Now that I've seen the stray barn cat back (plus moved ALL my other animals out of the barn to use as shop) I didn't want my 2 now pets going out... alas they use the dog door and slink all over the place easily climbing and ignoring fences. Training to not go after my recently adopted rabbits and my breeding bantams has been uhh... still a work in progress (maybe a good chance for a rooster to school them, or I'll just step up MY communication). Ah darn, I just realized I better start working on a good fully enclosed grow out set up. Even hatchlings inside the house could be at risk. This is my first real cat experience as an adult. :rolleyes: :D

    And these guys are always watching my flock. :barnie Only wild bird I sometimes unintentionally feed that I ALSO have pics of and it's taken with a cell phone through spotting scope, in my neighbors tree. Red Shoulder hawk, I think?? R2, ur pics were great!
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    I usually don't feed the birds because I may not be consistent and don't wish to habituate them to humans per say. I've bought into not inviting them to invade my "bio-security" by attracting them extra. But that does NOT stop them from coming...

    I have not yet seen a decrease in the humming bird activity. They keep coming to check out anything red, like an old coffee can or someone's t-shirt. And there's no shortage of flowers or bugs for them... I just don't get to see them up close as much. There are still a few territorial battles taking place close enough to cause me to duck. I usually get to watch and here the aerial mating display a couple time per year.

    Our crab and fishing seasons get cut shorter all the time. Salmon runs are down on our local rivers compared many years ago... according to all reports I've seen. We do still catch them personally but there aren't enough to sustain commercial demand. Which does effect many of our local fisherman's lively hood and even our local economy. Wow, who realized wild life could have such an effect! :eek:

    Locally our Roosevelt elk populations have expanded enough through conservation and protection efforts, they have started issuing hunting tags again on a lottery basis. And of course some farmers are crying fowl because late warm weather caused late ripe fruit and delayed harvest meant blah blah blah the Elk ate 1/3 of the blueberry crop and putting fences up is too pricey when a government subsidy will cover the loss instead... :confused:

    I just love to see all the amazing wildlife! I even video taped a banana slug. :p

    Sorry I have no direct data about reduction in feed. Hope I wasn't too far off topic. Thanks for letting me ramble and encouraging reflection on the changes in our... ... existence. :pop
     
  4. SoftSilkie

    SoftSilkie Crowing

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    I don't live anywhere near you, @sourland, but thought I might put in my report.

    In the past year or so I have seen less California Quail and many more wild turkeys. I haven't noticed much else. I'd like to consider myself a great birdwatcher but honestly I am not very consistent.

    Not birds, but I know that a few places in Wyoming have had a ton more grizzly bears in the past couple of years, and in Idaho I have seen more black bear scar than usual, and I know someone who saw a baby bear. (I think we only have black bears in Idaho.)
     
    CarpCharacin, sourland, R2elk and 2 others like this.

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