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Why We Feed and Garden For Birds
May 16, 2016

They promise that spring is on the way.

It is difficult to know, with a cold and wet weekend that just passed.

We even had snow flurries on Sunday.

I don't think temperatures every got out of the 40's and scattered frost throughout the region as well.

Still, we have so much to be thankful for.

We visited the orthopedic surgeon Last week Monday.

Karen is the proud owner of a mobile knee brace.

This allows her to bend and walk, while providing support for her left knee.

We will know more later today as she visits him again.

Fatigue is the only word I can use to describe how we feel physically.

Double duty is taking its toll.

Still, our Lord continues to provide.

Yolanda continues to grow stronger in little ways, as her smile never wavers.

Bird activity is going strong.

Our first hummingbird sighting was this past Monday

The partial albino robin is still around.

I expect the White-crowned sparrows to head north any day now

Things continue to green up around here.

The up and down (mostly down) spring makes for slower plant growth.

(They really use their tail as an umbrella.)

Yes, May is my favorite month.

Last week I wrote on why we garden for birds.

This week I attempt to touch on other reasons why we need birds.

Many you may never think about.


Often I write about birds.

How we garden to attract them.

You spend money on feeders, feed, and houses to attract more birds.

Like me, you enjoy the song and antics they offer.

Birds play an intricate part of our lives.

This past weekend was pretty nasty and cold weather wise.

Yet, I had a few windows cracked open simply to hear the birds as they busily feed and frolic throughout.

Birds make me happy.

You too?

(Partial Albino Robin in neighbor's yard this weekend.)

Who doesn't stop to watch a hummingbird in action?

To admire the the flight.

The ability to hover, back up, fly upside down.

The tough of epic migrations these diminutive birds take.

How, such a little bird can have such a big attitude?

The magnificence, and grandeur of an eagle.

Apex predators.

All the song birds, waterfowl, shore birds, birds of the forest and prairies.

Don't forget the scavenger birds.

Each one created for its specialization.

Yet birds provide and offer much, much more.

Not just for humans, but many animals worldwide.

Read on.

Okay, we know that birding (feeding, watching, etc.) is a multi billion dollar industry, but there is more.

Unless you are a naturalist, biologist, ornithologist, or some other scientist, you probably don't think of such things.

Think of the work/service, scavenger birds provide.

As roadkill increases, crows, vultures, hawks, eagles and other birds help to clean up the mess.

In countries like India, where cows are sacred, rotting carcasses are picked clean.

Not only do they lessen the stench, but think of the diseases they help prevent by cleaning up the mess.

Yes, birds are more and more recognized as being a vital part of our environments.

Insect eating birds provide a natural insecticide, as they feast on crop destructive potato beetles, bugs that feast on cranberry bogs and vineyards.

Birds pick off the insects that feed in your flower gardens.

They do a pretty good job if you allow them to (no pesticides).

I'm sure you have many volunteer plants that pop up every year in your gardens.

Wild grape, mulberry, blackberries, poison ivy, and others.

This is just your garden.

Now think of this globally.

Birds help keep water supplies clean by leaving volunteers along streams, wetlands and hillsides.

Seeds left by droppings that help to prevent excessive runoff into waterways.

Not to mention planting trees that give us oxygen and fresh air.

Trees, shrubs and plants help to prevent mudslides from torrential rains and spring snow melt.

They also plant trees that help to maintain the foresting industry.

An example is this:

In the mountains of the American west is a species of bird 'Clark's nutcracker'.

(Photo credits go to Wikipedia.)

The nutcracker has a strong bill to crack open the pine cones of Whitebark pine.

This is the only species of bird known to actually bury some seeds (for later feeding).

Enough of the seed germinates and replenishes the Whitebark forest.

The comes also feed bear, deer, and elk.

What scientist are finding helpful is the Whitebark is under siege by 'Blister rust (a fungus), and mountain pine beetle.

If Clark's nutcracker wasn't replanting, the Whitebark pine may become extinct.

Scientists are working to save the trees by growing rust resistant seedlings.

This is done by harvesting the cones over a two year period, from trees that nutcracker has planted.

In the meantime, the Whitebark pine shades the mountains to slow down snow melt and erosive runoff.

All thanks to a species of bird.

Next time you are enjoying your songbirds, a hummingbird, or the flight of a raptor, pause and give thanks for the gift from God.

Without birds, we would be in a world of hurt.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

“The best portion of a good man's life is the little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.”

William Wordsworth, English poet(1770-1850)

In this day and age of attention getting and trying to feel important, the above quote still holds true for today.

Read what God's word has to say.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 6:1

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you."

James 4:10

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority,
lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued,

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope,
serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy,
generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight is going on inside you –
and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute
and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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