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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » General Support » Feeding birds....

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Brussels
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In cold winter months, birds get so hungry here where I live.

They look for food under snow, it's sort of a pity.

I did not see many birds this year during warmer months, I had the impression they are dying or moving away.

Like bees: I barely saw bees this year....


So I decided to feed birds this year, whole winter, with grains and fat balls.

As a result, they come to my house, all around, singing, flying, the whole time.


It's such a nice thing to see them, all sorts of small and middle size birds coming and going non stop.

It makes me feel good.

I wonder how can a simple thing - bird feeding - give back so much pleasure?

The grains cost very little here, as many people are doing the same.

Yesterday, I saw an old lady, who had difficulty to move around, she had no car. She bought 2 big packages of grains, and was trying to walk around carrying them.

She must have arthritis or pain, because she did not walk straight, nor relaxed.

The bags looked heavy for her.

I said: 'The birds are hungry, aren't they?'

She replied with a smile: 'Definitively. I need to feed them twice a day, they eat everything up!'

It's really like bird-therapy!!! [Big Grin]

In darker winter months, it feels really good!

I think, at the end, the birds give me more back than I give them (food).

Posts: 6183 | From Brussels | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Keebler
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-
Absolutely, birds bring much joy - and also so much else to our world. And feeding birds can make them stronger & healthier. So, it's good to do that.

It's best, though, to keep bird feeders away from one's dwelling and to be mindful when changing the feeder.

Sadly, I do not like being one to toss out the "well, here's the ugly side to something good" yet . . . it is very important that we know this. Birds can carry ticks. And those ticks can carry all kinds of trouble.

Still, provide nourishment to our feathered friends for their strength. Enjoy watching them and their antics. Listen to their song. Just don't invite them to spend time too close to one's house.

And wear a slick hat, then ruffle your own feathers and shake it all about after serving them dinner. Give the little birdies some entertainment and conversation starters, too, eh?


http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/02/25/birds-lyme-disease-bacteria/

Study IDs key birds that host Lyme disease bacteria in California

February 25, 2015


https://consumer.healthday.com/environmental-health-information-12/environment-health-news-233/migrating-birds-may-bring-exotic-ticks-to-u-s-703825.html

Migrating Birds May Bring Exotic Ticks to U.S.

By Robert Preidt - October 2, 2015

Applied and Environmental Microbiology, news release, Oct. 2, 2015

"Borrelia garinii in Seabird Ticks (Ixodes uriae), Atlantic Coast, North America"


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3291351/

European Strain of Lyme contracted near Rhode Island

One of [the author's] Lyme tests identified the strain of Lyme they contracted as "Garinii", a predominantly neurological strain previously believed to endemic to Europe only (they hadn't been to Europe at the time).

[The author] was infected 1 mile off the coast of Rhode Island, on Block Island, which fits the "perfect storm" combination of habitat requirements for Garinii, mentioned in the article (e.g., offshore nesting site for sea birds, with host reservoir of deer/rodent population, etc.).

In the past, the literature (and doctors) have denied the possibility that Garinii existed in the US.

----
But the point is that any birds, anywhere, can carry ticks. Even penguins at the South Pole. And the same can be said for squirrels, for any critter, really. And many critters can hop rides on ships. They need not always fly to cover continents.
-

Posts: 48021 | From Tree House | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Silverwolf
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Hi <<<<< Brussels, and Keebler >>>>>,

The birds are beautiful aren't they, love the songs.

I wondered about the tick issue too, hmmm, is there an inexpensive safe way, to help the birds that come near our homes,so they don't drop off and pick up more ticks?

Maybe plants of some sort that the ticks wont like? But wont hurt us or pets?

That would be interesting to know!

Jus' Silverwolfi here

--------------------
2006,May-August2006 Dx w/ Lyme/Bartonella/White Matter Lesion Disease on Brain.
[ Clinical Dx w/ two positives and several IND's on the tests from Igenex ], Prior Dx of CFIDS/CEBV 1992, and FMS '93-'94
Diabetes*2 Dx 10/'08

Posts: 3467 | From SE Idaho | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lymetoo
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I know your birds are really lucky to have you, Brussels!!

Birds do bring a lot of joy to us!! I've gone off and on with feeding birds. It depends upon where I am living. Where we are now, I fed the birds last winter.

I enjoyed it, but decided not to feed this year. (plenty of my neighbors do, so the birds are taken care of) .. Anyway, it got to where they were exploring my plants to see where they could nest, pooping on my balcony, etc, so I decided to just stop feeding.

I love photographing birds, but our trees are about 50 feet away. I may buy a new camera this summer so I can take more pics. One of my friends just took up photography and she lives very near a small pond.

She has taken amazing photos there. She can take the pics from her balcony, in most cases. She even has pics of a beaver! She's from England, so she is really enjoying this. Because she posts the pics on FB, I get to enjoy it too.

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

Posts: 94483 | From Texas | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brussels
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I have lost this thread, sorry.

Nice so many of you feed birds!!

Well, it's been PRETTY cold here, and only to walk a few steps out was challenging due to wind.

My bird feeders are CLOSE to home, and I'm glad they are, so that I feed them often (even twice a day, when they are hungry).

I won't feed them after march. That is my deadline. They have to learn to live from nature in warmer months.

BUt it is LOVELY to see them around, listen to them.

Before I fed them in a place I could not see (I just put seeds, then filled them again when I saw the feeder empty).

Now, I have 3 spots where I put food and one of them, I can see the birds!

It's MUCH more enjoyable to see them close, and then they make me think about them, so that I do not forget to feed them next day.


If they drop ticks, well, it's all part of nature right?

I learned that ticks HATE ashes.

Most Russians put ashes on their clothes to walk in tick land, as they do have that awful FSME- TBE that is very deadly (like we have here).

So now, instead of using the ashes to compost, I'm spreading ashes all over my garden (that is normally full of ticks, anyway, with or without birds).

I got deer, fox, and other animals traveling around the back of the yard...

Birds are not the main source of ticks, unfortunately.


Farmers bring sheep to graze on the fields just a couple of steps from my window, on and off, and I swear: many have ticks too.

I'm no longer that afraid of ticks, like in the past. Ticks no longer make us sick, like before.

I'm more afraid of cell phone towers and wifi, to tell you the truth.

These mess up with my immune system!!

What is funny to notice, with birds, is that I think many people are feeding them. In the worst cold days, less birds came.

I guess, people give them more!!

Cool! I'll do it again next year.

It's the first time I had the feeding house in front of my window. All the other years, I couldn't see the birds.

But I certainly gave less food before!

Hey, I lost my 20 year old camera too, Tutu. Good idea to buy a new one!!

Posts: 6183 | From Brussels | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
randibear
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luckily, our bird feeder is down at thebottom of our yard and not near the house. so no problem with proximity.

with my eyes, I have to use binoculars cept for the cardinals and blue jays.

--------------------
do not look back when the only course is forward

Posts: 12262 | From texas | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sammy
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My mom loves birds. We grew up having multiple bird feeders right off our back porch. She is also an amazing gardener, we always had tons of beautiful plants in bloom to either help butterflies, hummingbirds, or birds like finches.

When we moved here a few years ago, a grumpy old man complained that the birds were pooping on his outdoor furniture & that our feeder was an eyesore.

We received a nuisance warning & were forced to take it down.

Feeding the birds was a source of joy & happiness for my mom & me. I miss it terribly & plan to write a petition to our board. We kept the area under the feeder clean & neat at all times.

I feel sorry for the old man, he always has to complain & lie about something or someone constantly. He’s horribly unhappy person.

Seeing this thread has reminded me of how much I truly miss feeding the birds.

They are having a hard time finding enough food. They truly need it all year long. (Oh I loved seeing the very young baby birds try to learn how to use the feeders. So cute!)

Native bird numbers are dropping everywhere.

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sammy
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we never had bugs at my house when feeding all the birds. You should start to attract birds that only eat bugs. Different ones love different bugs.

My house now is bug hell.

We were invaded by legions of all kind of nasty biting bugs this fall. Find black legged ticks all around here. I got bit by a nymph last spring, it got in through my window. For some reason the seal around my window broke.

Now I really really miss the birds!!!

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sammy
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If you have access to “Tractor Supply store” or “Farm & Fleet” or similar farm store, you can usually find bird food for cheep.

We never put out the bird food mixes. They attract birds of grackles & starlings, these birds are bullies, they use their large size to push Native song birds off the feeder.

We prefer to use black oil sunflower seeds. You can get massive bags for cheap at stores like Home Depot & supermarkets. At least one store around here always has the sunflower seeds for sale.

All beautiful native songbirds that visit your feeder will love the sunflower seeds. They are far more nutritious. And it’s cute to watch them sit & twirl the sunflower seed around in their beaks before cracking the shell.

Don’t buy the sunflower seeds that have already had shells removed. Grackles & sparrows will eat it all way too fast.

We also offered flax seeds for all the different finches.

Hung a hummingbird feeder in the shade. I forgot the ratio of sugar to water. Far cheaper & healthier than the store bought kind that’s red. Color in the water is unnecessary. The smell your sweet offering & decide to check it out if the feeder itself has any red or yellow on it somewhere. He hang thick red ribbon on ours to make it more eye catching.,

Posts: 5237 | From here | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sammy
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You will get more birds if you can plant at least one evergreen bush (many types) near your feeder. This offers protection from predators. There was one ver determined baby red tail hawk that actually dove into one of our bushes! We about died laughing, so cute.

That was only one of his hilarious failed attempts at catching food on his own. When he did finally catch one, he looked so surprised & happy. He danced around the yard just like a child would when celebrating. He got a little to goofy, forgot his prey was still alive. He threw it in the air & the sparrow flew away! Oops!!! Silly hawk, we adored him.

If you don’t already, please offer your birds a bird bath. Change water every day. They desperately need water for hydration & to clean feathers & regulate body temperature. In the winter we use a big dog bowl that is heated (safe outdoor plug).

I forgot to mention that you can make big batches of suiet, easy & cheap. Get bulk supplies. This can draw more rare birds that won’t come to your feeder.

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Brussels
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Sammy thanks a lot for all the tips!!! I also kept moving my feeders according to where the birds can stay before they jump into my feeder.

Before, the tree was way too far, so I decided to move it, and now, they hide in the bushes before jumping to my feeder.

I can't offer bird baths because I have unfortunately a too smart cat. She is a good mouse hunter and also unfortunately, a bird hunter.

I'm not that expert as you, I just buy balls of fat with seeds, and choose to sort of rotate seeds... Now more greasy because it's colder.

It is really a pleasure, funnily. More than I would imagine.

But I need to see them coming and going, otherwise I forget them. If I see them looking for food, I sort of remember to go out, feed them, and buy new seeds again when they finish.

It's almost like a therapy.

but here, people ask us not to feed the birds during warmer months so that mothers teach their young where to find food on their own. There is plenty of food here in warmer months.

Posts: 6183 | From Brussels | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
map1131
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I love feeding and watching my birds. Someone on this site, sorry can't remember who was told by their LLMD....bird feeders must go.

And yes I've been tick bitten twice in the last 5 yrs and I suspect it was from going to the feeder.

I've put a small bottle of mixed essential oils by my front door and I now spray my shoes and ankles. Tick killer is also applied every two months around that landscaping area.

I also move really fast so they can't catch me.

Just can't give up my birds. I've tried.

Pam

--------------------
"Never, never, never, never, never give up" Winston Churchill

Posts: 6396 | From Louisville, Ky | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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