A Cause For Concern

Today, instead of my usual ‘Small Stone’, I would like to draw your attention to something which is causing great concern amongst local twitchers (or bird watchers if you prefer). This is not just a local problem as there is evidence that it affects birds all over the UK. I refer of course to obesity in the wild bird population.

Let me explain. Bird habitats are in decline as weed killers and insecticides are sprayed on our fields and hedges are grubbed up, not only in the countryside but also in our  gardens, to be replaced by fences. Increasingly too our gardens are covered over with concrete or gravel for ‘ease of maintenance’. This has resulted in less natural food sources available to our wild birds and many garden bird species have suffered as a result.

One answer to this problem has been the increase in various wild bird food mixes available to purchase from garden centres, supermarkets and other outlets. We are cautioned that, as birds may become dependant on these supplies we should continue to feed the birds all the year round, not only in the winter when natural supplies may run low. Increasingly these pre-packaged mixes are becoming specialised to suit particular bird species such as Robins, Tits and so on and, unsurprisingly, it is in the suppliers interests to encourage us to buy these products in vast quantities.

As a result birds are encouraged to overeat, since the food is readily available and plentiful, and there is no need for them to fly about in search of natural supplies. Instead they can be seen gobbling up peanuts with gusto, a most un-natural food source for birds in this country as peanuts do not even grow here.

I have witnessed first hand the difficulties that some birds, most notably pigeons, now have in getting air-borne as they hop about on the lawn, flapping their wings and struggling to make it over the fence into the neighbour’s garden, where yet more food awaits them on yet another bird table.

This obesity problem in birds, and the subsequent difficulties they have in flying obviously makes them more vulnerable to being caught by cats and the ever-increasing numbers of birds of prey in our skies (themselves in decline until quite recently), thus adding more strain on their numbers, which is somewhat contrary to the purpose of feeding them in the first place.

To address this problem my local twitchers are setting up an action group called ‘Action to Stop Bird Obesity’, or ASBO for short and details of how to donate to this worthy cause will be notified in due course. In the meantime we are counting on your support to increase awareness of this latest threat to our wild bird population.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. julespaige
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 15:51:32

    hmm…I heard that the BBC did an excellent documentary on flying penguins today…


  2. julespaige
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 13:43:44

    Alastair said they also had one with cows having the heads of pigs.


  3. Trackback: ASBO | By The Wobbly Dum-Dum Tree
  4. P C Niles
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 15:31:03

    So subtly playful. Love it! Now that April 1st has passed, I can write that. But there are many ‘true’ points that one could (and should) get very ‘serious’ about. I plead guilty, too… on making the birds fat and fatter, which in turn fattens up the raptors that feed off the birds, …and the cats, and the raccoons. It’s a never ending chain, after all.


    • Libby
      Apr 09, 2013 @ 10:44:41

      Thank you. I tried to include some truth to make it believable – as you say, it really is a never ending chain, but that’s nature and it keeps us all alive!


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