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Home Best Backyard Bird-Feeding Practices Bird Safety Banning Bird Feeding
Banning Bird Feeding

Over 55 million Americans over the age of 16 feed wild birds, and bird feeding is the second most popular hobby in the United States.  Through bird feeding, countless individuals attract some of nature’s most beautiful sights and sounds right outside their window, and enjoy a strong connection to nature.

While bird feeding has numerous positive benefits, some entities, including neighborhood associations and local governments, have attempted to ban bird feeding.  Arguments in favor of banning bird feeding typically are based on bird feeding having the potential to attract undesirable species, such as Brown-headed Cowbird, European Starling, and House Sparrow; avian predators such as Blue Jay and Cooper's Hawk; or mammals such as mice and rats.  In addition, some have recommended bird feeding bans because diseased birds have been documented at feeders, and contact amongst birds can be a means of disease transmission.

Banning bird feeding because it could attract unwanted species or may facilitate disease transmission amongst birds is similar to arguing that bird watching should be banned because hiking through natural areas can cause disturbances.  These arguments are based on the premise that the negative effects of these activities cannot be mitigated through best practices.

There are numerous best practices to reduce the potential negative effects of bird feeding.  Here are some suggested best practices for a better bird feeding experience – for people and wild birds. 

Reduce Cowbird, Starling, and House Sparrow Visits
Reduce Avian Predator Visits
Reduce Mice and Rat Visits
Reduce Disease Transmission at Bird Feeders
Provide Appropriate Bird Food



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