Date: 2/26/18 4:10 pm From: Cindy Tofflemoyer <75catlover06...> Subject: [obol] Re: suet & "butters" in trees
Thank you Elise. I learn alot from these posts.
On Sun, Feb 25, 2018 at 12:21 PM Elise W <ewolf97...> wrote:
> Hi All, > > Its getting more popular to spread "butters" (peanut butter, or suet) onto > trees, or hang it so that it is free for a bird to land on. Just because > something is popular, or someone can make money on an idea, does not make > it a *good* idea. In this case, its a deadly idea for birds. > > Here's why: oils cannot be removed from birds' feathers by the bird. > Period. At all. Their saliva does not have the components (solvents) to > remove oils. (That's why it takes people to wash birds in an oil spill > (regardless of type of oil, fish, fats, or petroleum for ex). > > Oiled feathers mean a cold bird. Oils remove the waterproofing by sticking > the microscopic barbs together, and thus the heat retaining character of a > feather is lost. If the feathers that hold body heat in are oiled, that > creates a location in which warmth can leak out and cold in. In > temperatures even slightly cool, that can kill a bird. (They burn too much > energy staying warm and preening, and fail). > > Cold birds that make it through the night, starve, as they spend all their > time and energy trying to get warm (preening). Starvation for a songbird in > winter is fast. > > How does the fat get on the feathers? PREENING. > > Watch a bird preen. It uses it feet for its head and other feathers. So, > lets say Ms. Junco lands on that enticing pile of homemade pb, suet, nut > concoction you've made (Yum!). It gets it on her feet. Full and satisfied, > she flies or hops off for a relaxing bit of rest and preening. As she > scratches her head (one of the least feather protected areas of a bird's > body), it rubs some residue of fats from the food into her head feathers. > Now you basically have a partially oiled bird. Further preening spreads it > further. (Oils in warm weather, like Rio Grande) is WORSE. > > Hypothermic, starving birds are not seen except rarely. These birds will > huddle somewhere trying to stay warm. So the fact that someone has never > *seen *this does not mean it doesn't happen. And, no, your likely not > going to see a population decline either. And sure, some birds *might *be > fine. But, ask if its worth the risk? > > Since I wash these birds, I can tell you it does happen. (Peanut butter > takes the same wash protocol as petroleum/crude oil, as does suet, actually > suet is harder to get out!!!). > > Options: Make sure all suet is hard, very hard. Put out in cold weather > only. Enclose in cage, and don't let fats build up, keep it clean. Think > fully about birds' behavior before entertaining the next big fad. > > Sorry to be a bummer. > > Elise Wolf > Native Bird Care > Sisters, OR > 541-728-8208 >