Feeding Wild Birds in America: Culture, Commerce, and Conservation

Front Cover
Texas A&M University Press, Mar 30, 2015 - Nature - 320 pages
Today, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, more than fifty million Americans feed birds around their homes, and over the last sixty years, billions of pounds of birdseed have filled millions of feeders in backyards everywhere. Feeding Wild Birds in America tells why and how a modest act of provision has become such a pervasive, popular, and often passionate aspect of people’s lives.

Each chapter provides details on one or more bird-feeding development or trend including the “discovery” of seeds, the invention of different kinds of feeders, and the creation of new companies. Also woven into the book are the worlds of education, publishing, commerce, professional ornithology, and citizen science, all of which have embraced bird feeding at different times and from different perspectives.

The authors take a decade-by-decade approach starting in the late nineteenth century, providing a historical overview in each chapter before covering topical developments (such as hummingbird feeding and birdbaths). On the one hand, they show that the story of bird feeding is one of entrepreneurial invention; on the other hand, they reveal how Americans, through a seemingly simple practice, have come to value the natural world.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Chapter 1
5
Ongoing Awareness Trends
19
Chapter 2
23
Useful Birds Then and Now
40
Chapter 3
46
Development of the Birdbath
67
True Grit
77
Windows Glass and Feeding Stations
183
Chapter 10
186
One Experiment Goes Awry
205
Project Feederwatch and the Great Backyard Bird Count
207
Visiting Hawks
211
The Recently Arrived House Finces and Eurasian CollaredDoves
215
Chapter 11
218
Mealworm Revival
230

Chapter 4
80
Suet for the Birds
88
Chapter 5
92
Hemp the Devils Birdseed
104
Game Bird Feeders Over the Decades
108
Chapter 6
110
Reclycling and Creating Then and Now
120
Chapter 7
124
Squirrel Battles
136
FourSeason Feeding
140
Chapter 8
144
A Sunflower Saga
153
Chapter 9
158
Feeding Hummingbirds Over Time
169
Nyjer the Wonder Seed
179
Fruits and Jellies for the Birds
231
Nectar Feeding for Nonhummingbirds
233
Tweaking the Seeds
235
Cats in the Backyard
237
Funding for Birds and Wildlife
242
Chapter 12
244
Chapter 13
259
Rarities at the Feeder
268
Community Feeding
271
The Latin American and Caribbean Experience
274
Chapter 14
278
Principal Sources
287
About the Authors
291
Index
293
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

PAUL J. BAICICH is a conservation writer and editor and an avitourism consultant. He lives in Maryland. MARGARET A. BARKER, a writer and educator in the Chesapeake Bay area, coordinated the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch. CARROL L. HENDERSON is supervisor of Minnesota’s Nongame Wildlife Program in the Department of Natural Resources.

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