Despite help, birds can feed themselvesThe Dec. 22...

Letters

February 03, 1997

Despite help, birds can feed themselves

The Dec. 22 article, ''Inviting wildlife to your yard,'' emphasizes that it would be cruel to stop feeding birds once you have started because they will become dependent on your backyard for their food. This premise is absurd and somewhat egotistical.

Passerine birds, the perching species that make up most of our backyard visitors, have done quite well without our help since the Miocene epoch. Other common backyard species such as pigeons, doves and woodpeckers have even more ancient ancestors.

There is no evidence that these birds become dependent on backyard feeders, let alone those in one particular backyard.

While some might argue that birds have fewer food source options because of man's wanton destruction of their habitat, the species that come to your backyard are largely ones that TTC have adapted to man's intrusion and are not the ones at greatest risk from habitat destruction.

In addition, the birds you see in your backyard do not rely on just one food source. Your yard is only one stop among many in their daily routine.

Sadly, saying the birds become dependent on a single food source and that it would be cruel to remove it, discourages some individuals from feeding birds. This is unfortunate for the birds and the individual.

I would encourage those who want to feed to do so whenever they can. More consistent feeding will increase the number of birds at your feeder but not their chances of survival.

I would also like to clarify some of the feeding suggestions. I agree that sunflower seed, especially black oil sunflower, will attract the widest range of species and can be presented in a hanging feeder, platform or on the ground.

However, only goldfinches and house finches are consistently attracted to thistle feeders. Juncos are largely ground feeders, not air feeders, and love millet as well as sunflower.

Hugh Simmons

Baltimore

Reader sees faulty logic

I must point out the faulty logic in a Jan. 23 letter by Anne T. Booher regarding the Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate issue.

She stated that state issuance of the tags is tacit endorsement of the Confederacy. To use her logic, the state endorsed Catholicism when it issued plates to the Knights of Columbus; endorsed secret organizations when it issued plates to Masonic groups; endorsed motor racing when it issued plates to the Street Rod Club, and endorsed the Vietnam war when it issued plates to the veterans of that war.

In 1994, the state dedicated a monument at Gettysburg to all Maryland veterans of that battle, both Blue and Gray. How can the state now say that the descendants of the people honored by that monument are somehow unworthy?

For the letter writer to say Maryland stayed in the Union, "albeit somewhat tenuously" at first, is like being a little pregnant. President Lincoln arrested most of the Maryland legislature without warrant, charge or trial, turned the guns of Fort McHenry on Baltimore, occupied the state with military troops, dragged judges off the bench, beat and jailed them, and jailed people for expressing their First Amendment rights to free speech, assembly and press. Maryland only stayed in the Union because it was given no choice.

S.R. Buckmiller

Reisterstown

'Stitch in time' works with crime

I agree with Clarence Page's Jan. 8 commentary, ''Urban crime is declining: Somebody must be doing something right.'' The column claims that grass-roots measures (such as police officers walking beats instead of driving, looking out for all the children in the neighborhood, and keeping homes and neighborhoods looking safe and presentable) have helped crime rates decrease in Baltimore and nationwide.

In our concern about drugs, murder, rape and theft, we tend to overlook the ''smaller'' crimes. These petty crimes, however, are at the root of many problems. Things like vandalism make people feel unsafe and insecure, and also rob them of pride and respect for their communities' neighborhoods.

Measures such as walking beats for police officers and community crime-watch efforts prevent minor issues from snowballing into bigger problems. As the column suggests, a punishment for a minor crime can sometimes deter would-be criminals from committing more serious ones.

As the 8 percent increase in Baltimore's homicide rate indicates, we still have a lot of work to do. We must continue to make sure the police force and the laws we pass are working to the fullest of their abilities.

Thank you for reminding us of the wisdom of using ''a stitch in time.'' It is good to know that efforts to stop crime really are paying off.

Stephanie Manuzak

Pasadena

President and CEO Clinton merits support

We all know that President Clinton was elected to a second term. The election might be compared to a stockholders' meeting at a large corporation where the stockholders elect a new chief executive officer.

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