Feeding or baiting wildlife?

MynaJ-banana sa-ribu 2

On 20th May 2016, Tan Teo Seng brought me a large bunch of Thousand Fingers Banana, also known as Pisang Seribu (Musa acuminata x balbisiana cv. ‘Pisang Seribu‘.

A well-grown plant can bear a bunch of fruits that hangs down from the top of the plant to the ground below.

What else can I do with this 2 metres long bunch of bananas but hang it up in my garden for the birds to feast on (left).

Then a thought came to me. Was I simply feeding wildlife or can this be construed as wildlife baiting?

Any animals that were to come and feast on the fruits would already be found in and around my garden – birds, Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus singapurensis) or even Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus).

During the next few days only Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) and Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) came to dine (above). They took turns to feed on the overripe fruits like any well-mannered birds should.

The regular civet failed to appear, not even a squirrel. And no other birds appeared. Forget about the pitta – after all, my list of 33 bird species that visited my garden, compiled over the years, does not include this migratory species.

But what happens to the other 31 species on my list, now that I need them to appear? Well, a suppose a list of birds is only a list of birds and nothing else. It is only good to impress lay-people, especially when you want to lobby for the conservation of an area.

Dare I say that attracting the bulbul and the myna, two very common birds, had nothing to do with baiting – unlike when the Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis) or even the Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) were involved?

I must confess that I am guilty of feeding wildlife. But baiting wildlife? I wonder what the purists will say?

YC Wee
Singapore
20th May 2016

2 Responses

  1. Lee Chiu San

    Populations of any kind of wildlife are only as dense as the food available. If you want more birds and butterflies you provide more food for them. Besides cultivating lots of food plants, ever since moving to my present home six years ago, I have been feeding wildlife heavily.
    As a result, the populations have visibly increased. There are always Spotted Doves (Streptopelia chinensis) of various ages in my garden. And I am particularly proud of the many generations of White Breasted Waterhens that have grown up around my ponds. Not only do they forage for snails and water weeds, but they are particularly large and healthy because they are well fed on bird food.
    Feeding of garden birds is a common practice in the UK and the USA. However, if you want to feed, you must do so consistently. Remember, the birds come to depend on you for a regular source of food. If you cut off the supply suddenly, they won’t know what to do. So, even if I have to travel, I make sure that someone else takes over the feeding of the birds in my garden.

  2. Thanks for the comment. Growing plants provide food for wildlife. In a way we are feeding wildlife, although in an indirect way.

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