My buddy, biologistÂ Doug L., Â penned a column recently decrying the old accepted practice of supplemental feeding. It spoke mainly to us in North Dakota with reference to deer and pheasants and made a pitch for habitat over feeding, something I subscribe to whole-heartedly. He also touched on backyard bird feeders and wrote, “…our efforts to feed wildlife, even on a small scale, do not always produce the desired results…” I agree.
Then I ran across this piece from KARE11.com in the Twin Cities, containing the following sentence:
Melissa Block from The Wild Bird Store in Wayzata says the cold, snowy conditions are not making it that much more difficult for year-around birds, but they are depending on the bird feeders staying full.
Maybe. But I doubt it. Ms. Block is in the business of selling bird food so her objective is obvious. But she isn’t alone in this thinking. Are the birds really relying on humans for their winter survival? No.
Full disclosure: I have several bird feeders in my back yard. But I have no illusions about “helping” them survive. I do it because I like to observe birds, not to aid in their winter survival. If you are truly interested in the survival of species, plant habitat plots. It’s all about cover. Or, as I’ve said many many times, Habitat is Everything.