Headline, May 16 2021/ GO : ''' '' FEED THE BIRDS '' '''

GO : ''' '' FEED THE 

BIRDS '' '''

''WHAT IS IT THAT ENCOURAGES PEOPLE to feed animals in the first place? What are the drivers of this throughout time and across cultures?''

IN AMERICA AND ENGLAND - SELLING BIRD SEED is a big business. In Delhi, people toss bits of meat into the air for black kites. Fleets of ships ply the oceans to catch for domestic cats, the descendants of predatory land animals.

Humans feed animals all the time; our pets, the chickens we plan to eat and the ducks at the parking pond [even though we shouldn't].

Throughout history in fat years and lean, across many cultures, sometimes with no apparent reason, humans have fed animals of every imaginable stripe in every imaginable way. Some researchers think the desire to give food to other animals may drive domestication as much as the human desire to eat them does.

LEFTOVER from our Stone Age may have fostered the domestication of dogs. Some of us give our beloved dead to vultures, which is a problem when the birds disappear. We fed and feed cats, both tame and feral, sharks, alligators, deer, hedgehogs, bears, pigeons, of all sorts, sucks, swans, zoo animals, lab animals, pets, farm animals and more.

Researchers are Britain are asking : Where does this desire to give food to other animals come from, and what has it meant for animals, humans and their shared environments?

One striking possible answer is extinction. Domestication may be the death knell for wild progenitors. The ancestors of horses and cattle are gone. And while there are still wolves in the wild, they are not thriving the way dogs are.

Some feeding of animals is purely practical. You feed chickens today if you want to eat their eggs, or their wings, tomorrow,. You can't ride a starving horse. Animals used for experiments in laboratories have to be kept alive to get cancer.

But a lot of feeding is unrelated to any return on investment. The black kites of Delhi reach population densities that may be the highest for raptors anywhere because of accidental and purposeful feeding.

They rely on garbage and on the tasty and nutritious pests the garbage attracts. And they also benefit from the charity of the Muslims who follow a tradition of tossing bits of meat into the air for the birds.

Many Indians feed street dogs as a matter of course, treating them as animal neighbors. In a small city near Ahmedabad where I reported on anti-rabies efforts, residents told me that you can't just give dogs plain leftover bread. You have to put some clarified butter on it, to make it palatable.

The residents were middle class and had both bread and butter to give, but I also met people who lived by the side of the road, with nothing more than mattresses and a few pots, who shared their food with dogs.

Almost nothing about humans' feeding of animals is fully understood, largely because scholars have not given the subject a great deal of attention. And that, most of all, is what five researchers in England and Scotland want to change.

With a four-year grant of more than $2 million from the Wellcome Trust, they are pursuing a collaborative multidisciplinary attempt to give animal feeding its due and to begin to answer some puzzling questions. They call their project, '' From 'Feed the Birds' to 'Do Not Feed the Animals.' ''

Naomi Sykes, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter,, is the moving force behind the project.


Chickens were among the animals that led Dr. Sykes to this field of study, she said. She was working on some ancient sites in Britain and was surprised by what isotope studies of fossilized chicken bones suggested about the birds' diet.

Isotopes are different forms of elements like carbon and nitrogen, and researchers use the ratio of one to another to determine what animals or humans ate. Different grains or even grains from different geographical regions give different results, or values.

''At sites where there's a lot of chicken sacrifice to the gods of Mercury and Mithras'' during the Roman occupation of Britain, Dr. Sykes said, ''some of the values of those chickens just looked really bizarre.'' It seemed that chickens were eating some sort of special diet. 

She talked to colleagues who told her that, in fact, chickens in Roman times that were to be sacrificed were sometimes fed a special diet of millet in preparation for their ritual slaughter.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Birds, Animals, and History, continues to next part. The World Students Society thanks author James Gorman.

With respectful dedication to Mankind, our Ancestors, Researchers, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

''' Science - Special '''

Good Night and God Bless

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