But Is That Because It Can Reliably Find Prey At Bird Feeders?

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The Coopers hawk, an accipiter that preys frequently on small and medium-sized birds, has been increasing in numbers and more are wintering farther north. But is that because it can reliably find prey at bird feeders? Who knows. Then theres the issue of whether winter feeding facilitates the spread of disease. The answer here is squishy, too. One study found that house finch eye disease, a type of conjunctivitis, spreads more easily in aviaries where finches shared a feeder. But does that apply to wild birds? If you have sick birds wiping their faces on perches used by other bids it could facilitate the spread of disease, Greig said. But birds flock together anyway. And theres certainly no shortage of house finches. There does seem to be more evidence that feeding birds and having bird-friendly backyards does more good than it does harm, Greig said.

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