[Tweeters] Issues with feeding habituated birds and raw peanuts

christopher anderson cdanders at hotmail.com
Thu Sep 18 22:38:02 PDT 2008

Howdy tweets, I just wanted to pass along that there have been studies, particularly those focusing on recreational areas and associated human activity presence and patterns such as that found along trails, campgrounds etc., that have indicated that some prey animals may become more vunerable to predators due to resulting altered activity patterns and behavior from the regular human presence and resulting effects. Some predators (e.g. hawks, racoons) will key in on the altered activities of prey species (e.g. a robin that consistently flushes from a nest along a jogging trail, or jays attracted to trash at a regular campsite) and take advantage.
I think it is plausible that feeding wildlife, jays or otherwise, establishes unnatural behavioral and activity patterns. These patterns could open individuals up to higher predation rates, as well as implications related to their altered activity patterns that are established, such as spatial and temporal changes in foraging bouts and other daily activities. Some research indicates a higher predation rate on nesting birds around e.g., campgrounds; since many predators associate with these areas already due to the regular human presence and the inticing items they leave (e.g. rodents, crows, racoons, jays - all frequent campgrounds to find garbage or get free handouts). Many of these animals are significant predators on songbirds, particularly eggs and nestlings. If jays, which are known to be significant nest predators, are attracted to these recreated areas due to established human patterns and "rewards", there may be an impact on local prey species due to the uber-abundance of jays hanging in the vicinity. Further, birds fed regularly in popular backcountry areas establish a habituated pattern that predators may key-in on and possibly take advantage of. Just thoughts, but something maybe to consider.?.? Also, raw peanuts and other legumes contain a substance which inhibits pancreatic production of the enzyme trypsin, responsible for assisting in protein uptake in the intestine. In large quantities it has been shown to cause malnutrition in various wildlife due to resulting lack of protein uptake. Apparently roasting legumes will break-down this substance and make it inert. Further, raw peanuts are more apt to grow fungi responsible for mycotoxins, which can cause toxic problems in birds and other wildlife - there are large problems with this in areas of the U.S. that produce peanuts as a crop. Roasted peanuts seem to be the way to go from what I understand and have been told in the past.

Just my two cents, but these are things that I've read or discussed with others interested in these same subjects in the past -thought it would be of interest to folks.

Chris Anderson
North Seattle
cdanders AT hotmail DOT com
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