Happy Chinese New Year--its now Wu Zi, the Year of the Rat. I'm not a big rat fan--they kill lots of birds on islands and places where they have been accidentally introduced. In fact, here's a recent story of efforts to eliminate rats from Rat Island in Alaska to help protect seabirds. Fear of rats is also a reason some folks give for not feeding birds in their yard, though the problem is usually easy to remedy.
But don't forget that rats and other rodents are a primary food source for lots of raptors. Some folks even keep old hay bales in their fields just to attract rodents for their local hawks to eat. Maybe we can invent a rodent hopper feeder for hawks and owls?
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