A Birdfeeder Model

As with most good deeds, feeding birds in the winter is done primarily for the benefit of the feeder, not the eater. We place feeders near our window, to enjoy the comings and goings of various small birds all day long. But the standard feeder has some problems. Houses are surrounded by cleared areas, where a concentration of small birds attracts the attention of hawks, who are faster and manoeuver better than small birds away from protective shelter. Thus, to satisfy our desire to observe them, we expose them to additional risk, and some are sacrificed for our pleasure. You may argue that hawks are also birds, and surely also deserve to be fed at bird feeders. Indeed. Certainly, nobody can deny the thrill of watching them swoop, rush, twist and turn. But just like the small birds, once they learn of a constant food source, they return with regularity.…

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