Feeding Birds in the Winter

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The New York Times this week reports here that non-migratory birds who have human supplied bird seed during the cold of winter do better than those which do not. Or at least English Blue Tits do. (No jokes please. This is not only science, it’s British science. That is a Blue Tit in the photo. Really.) In a study published recently in Biology Letters, the scientists fed Blue Tits peanuts throughout the winter of 2005-2006. Birds which were fed supplemental peanuts laid eggs about two and a half days earlier than birds which did not receive extra winter-time food. In addition, their chicks were more likely to survive. The study indicates that supplemental winter feeding of birds aids the species fed. Not studied was the impact, if any, on migratory birds passing through the area where the Blue Tits were fed.

Our conclusion: Feeding birds in the wintertime is good for the birds. It’s good for us too. Even if we are housebound for much of the winter, it is good to have a bird feeder and birds to watch. Reminds us that there is a world out there of which we are a part.

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Don’t forget that the Great Backyard Bird Count is this weekend.

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