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

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