[Tweeters] Jays, Crows and Peanuts

Robert Pisano pisano at nwlink.com
Mon Nov 19 07:26:10 PST 2007

Does it not make sense to err on the side of caution, rather than to
assume they can handle the salt and hope for the best?

Robert Pisano, Seattle

On Nov 18, 2007, at 11:55 PM, ravenintherain wrote:

> Robert Pisano wrote:

>> Just as for people, too much salt isn't good for you (or them).

>> Remember, too, that these birds are but a tiny fraction of our body

>> mass, and that would translate into a disproportionately high

>> percentage of a substance that is not naturally occurring in their

>> diets. Not to worry, though, as the unsalted variety is readily

>> available. We don't put Pepsi in their birdbaths, after all.




>> On Nov 17, 2007, at 7:07 PM, ravenintherain wrote:


> Having struggled through the myths that we should not feed bread to

> ducks because it clogs up their guts or throw rice at weddings because

> the birds eat it and explode, I am now skeptical about all unsupported

> statements regarding the feeding of wild birds. While I am sure that

> we should not force birds into over-consuming salt, is there any

> actual evidence that salted peanuts are damaging to them? Salt is a

> natural and necessary element in bird diets as in mammal diets. In

> many situations wild animals are in pretty constant salt deficit and

> are avid for it when they can get it, as I've earned over the years

> when I have hung up a sweaty bandanna or t-shirt while camping and had

> to retrieve it from the maw of a salt-hungry deer. Are urban birds

> over-exposed to salt? I don't know.


> In the book I depend on most for feeding advice, Sally Roth's _The

> Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible_ (Rodale, 2000), Ms. Roth says that many

> birds like to come to salt blocks. Here is a quote from the "Salt"

> entry in the book:


> /Just like people, birds have different

> preferences when it comes to adding salt to their diet. Some like

> to eat it straight, while others can get along

> fine without even a sprinkling. The easiest way to feed salt

> is with a long-lasting salt block, available at

> feed stores for just a few dollars. House finches will be

> your best customer for salt, but buntings, doves,

> purple finches, goldfinches, jays, pigeons, pine siskins,

> house sparrows, and other birds also partake of the

> mineral.


> /I have a strong suspicion that birds can pretty well take care of

> themselves and won't obsessively eat things that aren't good for them

> in the way that humans do. I would sure like to hear if there is any

> scientific evidence about this. In the little bit of Web research I

> did on the topic I came upon the following entertaining quiz from the

> Iowa Extension Service. The author of the quiz also says we

> shouldn't offer birds salted peanuts, but I have no idea what he

> really knows. Here's the link:

> http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Quiz/Quiz4/


> BTW, the birds around my place love their Pepsi baths, its so spritzy

> and refreshing; but their real preference is for milk baths. Good for

> the feathers? ;-)>


> Yours in Tweeterness,


> Dale


> --

> Dale Chase

> (AKA ravenintherain)

> Seattle, Washington

> ccorax at blarg.net



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