We all know how bird feeders are the biggest joy for all of us and how good they are for feeding birds. But are there some reasons for bird feeders to be considered bad? This article explains the reasons and situations in which bird feeders are considered bad and does that really mean anything.
Bird feeders are considered bad as they result in easy spread of diseases from the birds, increase of death rate of birds due to predators and window strikes, unfavorable conditions for their reproduction, wrong and bad food fed in bird feeders.
Below are the reasons why bird feeders are considered bad and actual reality and precautions on each of the points.
1. Birds coming to bird feeders can spread diseases
The most common that you hear on why bird feeders are considered bad is that as birds are spread across ecosystems, they may carry diseases. And these diseases can easily be transmitted across birds near to the human population and further carry to humans. Also, disease easily spreads across birds as they gather near the feeders or human habitat and spread diseases like House Finch Eye Disease. In addition, there is a possibility of diseases when birds migrate in large numbers from one place to another. As often, distances are long, the possibility of spread of diseases is considered as large when they visit your bird feeder.
Reality Check and Solution: This is somewhat true, but this can be easily avoided by cleaning the feeders on a regular basis. If you see any sick or diseased bird near you, do all the cleaning necessary for the space. If required, call your local pet or municipality who takes care of bird diseases and care. Follow government guidelines on any diseases prevailing in the town. Every town and place would have such guidelines in case of any large diseases spreading across the regions.
2. Death rate due to feeders from window strikes and predators
Another common point that comes across with bird feeders is that you are attracting so many birds away from their natural habitat to your feeders and there are windows placed nearby. And this causes the birds to often strike windows and die. Also, you are attracting them to places where predators such as larger animals, bird predators can consider them as their food. This causes heavy death rates of birds.
Reality Check and Solution: As per what I checked from data of FeederWatch, there is not clear data proving that to be true. There are equal possibilities of those birds which come for bird feeders, as well as in their natural habitat. In fact, bird feeding helps a few birds particularly in adverse summers and seasons in providing them easy food and avoid their death from starving.
3. Birds Feeders can become sink habitats and cause problems in reproduction
Sink Habitats are where birds and animals create a new environment other than their natural habitat as their shelter, nesting space or feeding space. Due to getting used to bird feeders, your bird may make it as it is nesting place during the reproduction phase as well. But this can cause the death of birds in different ways. You have an outside predator like cats, stray dogs, etc. Or the extra nutrients, environment that it would have got in its natural habitat for proper reproduction might not be present for the bird at the bird feeder. Also, there could be chemicals sprayed in your garden such as fertilizers. All these can make the reproduction phase break as well as cause the death of an entire generation of birds.
Reality Check and Solution: This is true to some extent. But with care, all these can be avoided. Observe when birds prepare for nesting near your bird feeder. Know all the essential diet and environment requirements for the birds. Provide those requirements as well as make their areas predator proof and squirrel proof.
4. Bird Feed can have dead seeds and rotten stuff
Another complaint against bird feeders is that whatever is considered as organic and great by humans such as sunflower seeds may often contain a lot of rotten and dead seeds. This essentially causes sickness as well as ecological destruction.
Reality Check and Solution: This is completely in the hands of yourself, the bird feeders. Just like you do not keep bad food and take care of your children and family, the same care should be taken in case of the birds. Bird Feeders are not just toys for your joy, but they are life itself with birds. Once you keep such a feeling, you automatically take care of them well and these mistakes would not happen.
5. Seasonal diseases such as salmonellosis
There are seasonal diseases such as salmonellosis that can happen in birds. Salmonellosis happens in Pine Siskins in winters when they migrate in large numbers. It is caused by Salmonella bacteria. It affects especially songbirds such as Pine Siskins and Goldfinches. There are different periodic diseases such as this that can easily spread due to bird feeders.
Reality and Solution: There is nothing to panic about. As a bird lover, you need to keep in touch with all the information about these from the government agencies. And follow the instructions when such diseases are detected and announced. There will be instructions about keeping the bird feeders down and inactive for some time and some extra medicines. You just need to follow the guidelines.
6. Birds used to feeders can starve when no food at feeders
Another reason why bird feeders are considered bad is that these birds get used to the feeders and easy food. If suddenly due to some reasons, no food is kept at these feeders on certain days, they cannot quickly get food elsewhere and would starve to death.
Reality Check and Solution: Birds often eat insects and vegetation, and it is not true they would not get food just because there is no food in the feeders. They have ways to overcome this. However, if the bird is in the nesting phase, it is best you take care of good food and food regularly for the birds to avoid any problems in this phase.
The above all are major reasons for bird feeders being considered bad. There are many other small reasons for the same, but all these should not stop you from keeping bird feeders. As the data and reality shows, there is no harm if you follow the guidelines and precautions. Like everything in life, with the rules followed, bird feeders in fact would help birds that are requiring food in extreme weathers. Also, it is a joyful experience for you and your family to live among birds chirping and enjoying near your home.
To know different aspects of bird feeding and bird feeders, I encourage you to check these articles on below topics.
How do birds find a new bird feeder so fast?
Why won’t birds come to my window bird feeder?
Where to place mourning dove feeders?