Helping Our Bird Species Survive

Published 2:17 pm Thursday, January 22, 2015

Editor, The Herald:

Many human activities have caused the decline of various bird species; however, one activity—winter-feeding—has brought greatly increased numbers among others. Goldfinches, for instance: the sight of one in summer plumage fifty years ago was cause enough to run, tell Mama and your siblings, “Come, see the wild canary!” Now, during warm weather, a half dozen or more will work over our backyard sunflower plants before the heads are mature. With their gold turned to olive drab in winter, 10 to 15 finches at once will crowd the platform feeder.

Other varieties that have also benefited from our hands-outs: blue jays, cardinals, woodpeckers, titmice, juncos and a range of sparrows are far more numerous than in past decades. However, despite the increased survival rate, lack of water during a prolonged freeze causes major hardship for the birds. A water heater for your birdbath or even a heated birdbath will solve that problem nicely. If neither is available locally, check online, the birds will rejoice!

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Leroy Miller