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September 15, 2014


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Very sad. Unfortunately, birds (and all other animals) are losing out largely due to the very concepts that people don't want to face -- that of human overpopulation and the traditionally western (and false) notion of "unlimited growth." The world will need to learn (and practice) sustainability if we are ever going to save any vestige of the remarkable life forms that have taken hundreds of millions of years to evolve, and with whom we are privileged to share out little oasis with. At the risk of sounding "political" here (but I see no way of avoiding it)...the logical conclusion for those concerned about the planet is that women worldwide must be empowered to make decisions regarding the size of their families...period. Sometimes, we must face the hard issues, and the first step is calling them by name.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Amy, you've seen most of these! Yeah, there were some real surprises on this list. Hopefully publishing it awakens us to the fact that we can't take ANY bird for granted! Thanks for sharing your responses.


Here are my answers.

Which birds have I personally seen?
I have seen all of them except Scaled Quail, Verdin, and Varied Thrush.

Have any of them visited my yard?
In both Florida and Illinois, Common Grackle has visited my yard, and I have had Chimney Swifts fly over the yard. In Illinois we also had Pine Siskin.

Are there any that really surprise me because it seems like they're so abundant or seemingly common that they just CAN'T be in trouble?
I find Common Grackle and Herring Gull surprising.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Ellen, great reminder of the effect of lawn chemicals - they are SO overused and are so bad for birds and all wildlife.
There are sure some surprises on this list, and I wanted to make it personal to anyone that reads this. We can all do something to improve their chances!


Thank you for doing your part to raise awareness of threatened bird species, Nancy. I would add that folks should pay attention to the chemicals used on their lawns and in their gardens. Just because these chemicals are widely available, don't assume that they are safe for wildlife!

Here are my answers to the three questions.
Which birds have I personally seen?
All of them EXCEPT Greater Scaup, Northern Bobwhite, Purple Gallinule, and Franklin's Gull.

Have any of them visited my yard?
Field Sparrow
Common Grackle
Pine Siskin

Are there any that really surprise me because it seems like they're so abundant or seemingly common that they just CAN'T be in trouble?
American Wigeon
Herring Gull
Common Grackle
Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
Snow Bunting
Field Sparrow

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  • Our eyes and ears should be open and alert to the natural wonders that surround us every day. Take time to look out our windows to see the birds that visit us and open our windows to hear them. Walk around whatever space we have to enjoy the birds in nature. Every day, work on improving our powers of observation.


  • Nature happens. We cannot MAKE natural things happen (or NOT happen). We can create habitats to encourage natural things to happen around us, but there are no guarantees.


  • Birdfeeding comes with responsibilities to the birds and the environment we share with them. If you are unwilling to accept these responsibilities, you shouldn’t feed the birds. We also have a responsibility to share these natural wonders with the next generation.