Published: 13 June 2013
Sometimes the best intentions are the worst actions.
A few months ago a friend of mine gave me a beautiful bird feeder, which I immediately placed in my garden filled with the best wild bird seed I could find. Over the next week I had plenty of seed eating birds crowding to get at this wonderful new abundant food source. Thoughts as to what these birds normally eat didn’t surface until a few days ago the same friend said I should also attract the insect eating birds with an offering of a lard ball which he graciously provided me. The obvious extension was to erect a sugar water dispenser for our sunbirds to complete my garden wild aviary.
Ironically I did have in mind to mass produce a seed dispenser made from recycled plastic bottles, and the sugar water dispenser could soon follow, but then the bigger picture began to focus.
Not only was I making these birds dependant on my offerings with an unhealthy diet of sugar, fat and questionable seeds, but I was reducing their natural collection of these resources, preventing sunbird specific flower pollination, indigenous plant seed dispersal, and predation of insects.
To cap it all, I was planning to clean up the environment by recycling the plastic bottles encouraging others to do the same, resulting in an imbalance in nature that would have far reaching effects.
If you would like to attract wild birds to your garden, don’t feed them, rather create an environment they would like to be in, plant indigenous trees and flowering plants, not only will you save water, but you will create a natural healthy paradise that you and nature can enjoy together.
Jason Stonehewer for Pearly Beach Conservancy