Bird feeders may do as much harm as good, says a U of A ecologist who offers four tips for putting out food without putting birds at risk.
Nothing brightens a yard like a flock of twittering birds, and nothing draws them like a free meal—but it’s an open question whether bird feeders are good for them or not, says a University of Alberta expert.
“There are tradeoffs to feeding wild birds that people have to recognize,” said Erin Bayne, a professor in the Faculty of Science.RELATED: Scientists track nighthawks’ migration route in search of clues to species’ steep decline RELATED: To feed or not to feed
On one hand, providing food during extreme weather—like Canada’s long, cold winters—does help birds survive, by fuelling their energy needs.
On the other hand, feeding could unwittingly pose mortal danger to them in a few ways.
Hanging feeders in the wrong spots can make birds vulnerable to attacks by hunting cats—their greatest predator in urban environ...