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Let the birds go feed naturally

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Posted: Friday, January 20, 2006 10:00 pm

Last weekend, my wife and I took a meandering drive into the Delta roadways, coursing around Sherman Island, Ryer Island, and Jackson Slough, just to look at the waterfowl.

We saw literally thousands of geese, ducks, swans, herons and gulls feeding along the canals, in the ponds and along riverbanks. Yes, feeding.

Somehow, these animals know how to feed themselves without human help. Isn't that amazing?

In fact, in my humble opinion, they can feed naturally much safer than when helped by some human hand.

Lodi sits at the edge of the Pacific Flyway, which hosts migratory birds as they travel from their summer stomping grounds to winter quarters in far warmer climes.

In some locations, such as the Yolo Bypass between Davis and Sacramento, humans have set aside land exclusively for the migrants. Grasses and plants known to be healthful and safe for the birds have been planted there by humans who then got the heck out of the way and let the birds feed naturally.

The last thing desired is to have wild birds get used to being fed by humans, then fly away to their native northern homes, only to be shot as they waddle up to some human with a shotgun expecting to be fed.

Not only is the familiarity with human presence harmful for the wild migrants, familiarity with human-supplied food allows the fowl to become dependent on man for their existence.

Duckies don't dig popcorn. Marshmallows aren't proper bird feed, either. And if not imprisoned by human feeders, the birds just might return to their natural habitat, eat their natural foods, fly to their natural summer homes with their natural families, and take all their natural goose poop with them.

What a thought!

John Poynter

Lodi

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