There are numerous issues that individuals don’t find out about birds. Greater than this, circumstances typically conspire to end in not merely ignorance of bird-related subjects, however within the unfold of myths and misconceptions.
Begin with birds and seasons, the subject of false impression No. 1: Birds are most ample in spring. Whereas there are lots of species that migrate north to California within the spring, there are considerably extra that migrate south (or, much less ceaselessly, out from the chilly inside or down from larger elevations) to our average coastal local weather. Marin’s winters are good! And in order we transfer into fall, we are going to see rising numbers of shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors and quite a few songbird species.
False impression No. 2 can also be associated to the seasons: Chicken feeders will forestall birds from migrating on time. For many birds, the first set off of migration is day size. Abundance of meals isn’t a deterrent to migration — birds need to be well-nourished after they take off on their lengthy journeys, not pushed to the sting of hunger by an incapacity to search out meals. On associated subjects of migration and feeding, we are able to rapidly eliminate a lot of different myths:
False impression No. 3: Hummingbirds go away in winter. Not in Marin! We have now a big inhabitants of Anna’s hummingbirds all yr spherical.
False impression No. 4: Chicken feeders trigger songbirds to grow to be dependent. They don’t! Birds are at all times looking for wild meals sources along with visiting feeders and won’t endure if a feeder is taken down or not refilled for some time. Many pure meals sources are equally ample for some time — till they aren’t. Birds need to be able to transition as a given plant stops flowering or fruiting, as an example.
False impression No. 5: You should boil water to make hummingbird meals. Unboiled faucet water is completely protected for hummingbirds, though heat water will make it simpler to dissolve the sugar.
The usual recipe for hummingbird nectar is 4 elements water to at least one half white desk sugar, a ratio which imitates that present in pure flower nectar. It’s true that it’s best to keep away from different sweeteners and even natural sugar with a brown tint, which signifies a better iron focus that hummingbirds can not course of successfully.
False impression No. 6: Chicken feeders create rodent issues. Hanging a hen feeder won’t spontaneously generate a rodent inhabitants in your yard, though it might make your present rodent inhabitants extra seen. To truly scale back the variety of rodents in your yard, you’ll want to scale back rodent habitat by doing issues like closing off entrances to attics and crawlspaces, eradicating brush piles, and clearing dense patches of ivy and different groundcovers.
That being stated, there are additionally loads of methods of attracting birds with out providing extra meals to rodents. This consists of providing meals they don’t like (like sizzling pepper-treated seeds and suet), utilizing weight-sensitive feeders they will’t entry, or organising a rat- and squirrel-proof feeding station on a pole or different protected location.
A lot for feeding. How about nesting? Maybe one of the vital frequent outdated wives’ tales can function fantasy No. 7: For those who contact a child hen or nest, then the mother or father birds will odor your human scent and abandon the nest or child. This isn’t true (not that I like to recommend dealing with child birds until really mandatory).
For a lot of, the entire enterprise of avian baby-raising is mysterious, maybe resulting in the frequent false impression No. 8: Birds reside in hen homes. In lots of circles, the time period “nesting field” is most popular to “hen home” in an effort to keep away from this confusion. Human-made containers are for nesting, the short-term exercise of spring during which a nest is constructed, eggs are laid, and the younger are raised till they will fly. It’s true, nonetheless, that birds might typically roost or sleep inside a hen home outdoors of the nesting season, however that is in no way a uniform or normal observe.
These are all frequent concepts floating round within the normal pool of human error about birds, however I hope I’ve managed to clear up some confusion.
Have you ever encountered any hen beliefs of doubtful accuracy in dialog with others or in your personal thoughts? Be at liberty to share them with me for inclusion in a future column. There may be at all times extra to study birds.
Jack Gedney’s On the Wing runs each different Monday. He’s a co-owner of Wild Birds Limitless in Novato and writer of “The Non-public Lives of Public Birds.” You possibly can attain him at email@example.com.