November 26, 2017

Keep Your Bird Seed Dry!

Some mold was growing in the bottom of the thistle-seed feeder,
so it was time for a thorough cleaning.
A report from the Project Feeder Watch blog on how the parasite Trichomonas gallinae can live in wet bird seed: "Reasons Why We Should Keep Our Seed Dry".

Some takeaways:
• Keep your feeder out of the “splash zone” of any nearby birdbaths or drinking stations
• Consider bringing your feeder in before a heavy rain if temperatures are very warm.
• Change your seed out regularly if you are in hot and wet weather conditions.
• Choose seed types that contain little to no organic material (buckwheat, peas, and sorghum), e.g. nyjer seed or black-oil sunflower seed.
And if you're thinking about birds, here is an article on how the issue of "lumpers" versus "splitters" is complicated by genetic research: "What’s in a Name? How Genome Mapping Can Make It Harder to Tell Species Apart."
Scientists have the ability to peer more deeply into the DNA of birds today than ever before. But in some ways the resulting picture for species classification isn’t getting clearer—rather, it’s getting blurrier. It seems that the more closely evolutionary biologists look into the genome, the more arbitrary the boundaries between some species appear to be. It’s a bit like stepping too close to a pointillist painting: instead of revealing tiny details on the picnickers’ faces, the whole thing dissolves into dots.
It's not too late to join Project Feeder Watch this year. When you look at the map, you can see that the eastern United States and Canada are way over-represented, while there are big holes in the West. My Colorado dot is out there by itself!

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