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January 10, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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January 10, 2018
 

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January 10, 2018 Page 3B iReporter MONROE OUTDOORS by Terry W. Johnson hances are, if you made a health- related New Year's resolution, it prob- ably involved vowing to eat less salt this year. Although the harmful effects of a high salt diet on humans are well docu- mented, is the same true for the birds that visit our backyard feeders? The truth of the matter is, in spite of widely circu- lated reports that salt will kill wild birds or is harmful to them in other ways, we really do not know for sure what, if any, affect salt has on them. Contrary to some widely circulated reports, anec- dotal evidence suggests more than likely salt does not pose a problem for wild birds. However, that is not to say that seeking salt does not have its risks. For example, after salt is applied to highways during and after an ice or snowstorm, wild birds are sometimes struck by vehicles when they gath- er on and alongside the salt-treated pavement to eat the briny food sup- plement. Since we rarely have enough ice or snow on our local roadways to require salt treatments, this scenario is rarely played out in Monroe County. Research has shown that too much salt can pose health risks for chickens. One study found when chickens were forced to con- sume one-half TerryW.Johnson to an ounce of salt, they would die in eight to ten hours. For ages, birds have been known to eat natu- ral salt. Wild animals, including birds, visit sites of salt-laden earth. The locations of these all too rare sites were known to both Native Americans and early settlers alike. Nowadays hunters in Monroe County, and elsewhere in the northern half of the state routinely cre- ate manmade salt licks for deer. This is done in the belief that the min- erals in a salt block will help bucks grow larger antlers and provide does with mineral supple- ments while they are feeding their fawns. As is the case with the salt licks provided by Mother Nature, manmade licks also attract birds. Some birds definitely eat more salt than oth- ers do. Birds that are drawn to salt include purple finches, pine sis- kins, nuthatches, wood- peckers, blue jays, and crows. Likewise, the mourn- ing dove is also attract- ed to salt. Realizing this, some unscrupulous hunters will scatter rock salt across fields in hopes of drawing flocks of mourning doves with- in shooting range. This practice is considered baiting and is therefore illegal in Georgia. I have never seen anyone purposely offer salt to backyard birds. However, it has been reported that when folks tried it, birds showed little interest. When you come to think about it, we inad- vertently offer salt to birds all the time. For example, salt is a major ingredient in the baked goods, peanut butter, and a variety of the other cooked foods we feed to birds. Bacon grease is loaded with Many mammals, including some people, crave salt, but it is pos- sible that salt may be detrimental rather than beneficial for at least some birds. (Photo/Terry Johnson.) salt. In addition, who It will not take long for hasn't fed salted nuts to the salt to dissolve into birds? the ground. Then keep As such, our own per- an eye on the spot and sonal experiences sug- see if any birds eat the gest the salt contained salty soil. in these foods is not kill- One word of caution: ing the feathered diners I do not recommend at our backyard feeding you try this in an area stations, where deer are abun- If you want to see dant. The last thing you if birds are attracted want to do is attract to salt-laden soil, you white-tailed deer to your might want to sprinkle yard. Once there they some salt on a small are likely to sample your bare spot in your yard. shrubs, vegetables, and prized flowers. In conclusion, whether or not you feed salt to the birds in your backyard is a personal decision. I, for one, do not do it simply since there are so many items I can feed to birds that I am certain will not harm them. Why would I feed them something that even remotely might cause them problems? I hope I have answered any ques- tions you may have regarding the possi- ble dangers of feeding salt to wild birds. In the meantime, if you have had an experience with birds eating salt, I would appreciate it if you would share it with me. Terry Johnson is the retired Program Manager of the Georgia Nongame-Endangered Wildlife Program. He has written the informative column 'Monroe Outdoors'for the Reporter for many years. Email him at tjwoodduck@bellsouth. net. to 2-14 after a pair of road losses last week. Con nued from Page 1B MP was defeated 66-53 at Lamar County on Saturday, falling behind by 19 points through three quarters at 51-32 before outscoring the Lady Trojans 21-15 in the f0~:~ ~h~. g~e~r for; .t~he . rfi~l 13-point-margip:r The i0ss Came four nights after MPwas pounded 58-13 at perennial power Veterans on Tuesday, The Lady Dogs trailed 33-7 at halftime before being outscored 25-6 in the second half to lose by 45. The Lady Dogs will play their next three games on the road, starting with a Region 2-AAAA showdown against West Laurens at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. MP will then travel to face region foe Perry at 6 p.m. on Friday before traveling to non-region opponent Northside (Warner Robins) at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Meanwhile, the MP JV girls basketball team was next scheduled to travel to West Laurens for a road contest at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday. The JV Lady Dogs will then face Northside (Warner Robins) on the road at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday before return- ing home to face Spalding at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Also, the Monroe County Middle School girls basketball team was scheduled to host Byron Middle at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The C-Team Lady Dogs will then travel to Gray Station for a road contest at 5 p.m. on Thursday before returning home to host Clifton Ridge at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Monroe County dropped to 1-5 on the season with a 28-10 home loss to Lamar County on Thursday. :: Mercer junior guard KeKe Calloway, a 2015 Mary Persons grad, has garnered Southern Conference Player of the Week honors for games played Jan. 2-8. The award was announced by the league office Tuesday. Calloway joins Kahlia Lawrence and Sydni Means in taking home the honor for Mercer. Calloway averaged a blistering 37.0 points per game, knocking down 19 threes in two games. The Forsyth native began the week with a then- career-high 34 points in the 71-46 win at Wofford on Thursday, chip- ping in five steals and two rebounds. Calloway finished 65 percent from the floor in the game, including 70 percent (7-of-10) from downtown. On Saturday at Furman, Calloway exploded for a second consecutive career-high, this time for 40 points after burying an NCAA record 12 threes. Calloway's 12 threes shat- tered the SoCon record of nine set in 2008, while also besting her own Mercer record of seven. Calloway's 40-point outing is the highest single-game total in the conference this season and is tied for II the eighth highest in the NCAA this season. The junior also chipped in for six rebounds and two assists. The Bears (15-2, 2-0) are on a 12-game winning streak which is their longest since joining the NCAA Division I level. Mercer boasts the top two scorers in the league, with Kahlia Lawrence averaging 19.2 points and Calloway averaging 18.9 points per game. Calloway is second in the NCAA in three pointers made (67) and fifth in the NCAA in threes made per game (3.94). Mercer will return to action on Saturday at 3 p.m. when the Bears travel to Birmingham, Ala to square off with the Samford Bulldogs (8-9, 0-2) at the Pete Hanna Center. For complete coverage of Mercer Women's Basketball, please fol- low the Bears on social media at @MercerWBB (Twitter), / MercerWBB(Facebook) and @ MercerWBB (Instagram) or visit the official home of Mercer Athletics at MercerBears.com. (Courtesy of Mercer Athletics) T.G. Scott's Barbara Dye, second from left had the chance tosee some of the sights in Califor- nia, in- cluding Sleep- ing Beauty's castle, while she was there with her family tosee the UGA Bull- dogs win. Mrs. Barbara Dye, T.G. Scott EIP teacher, and her family had the privilege of cheering the University of Georgia Bulldogs to victory against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Jan. 1. They were able to visit Disneyland and attend the Los Angeles Rams football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Stadium on Dec. 31 while they were in California. They reported an amazing time in California! Go Dawgs! Fifth Grade teacher Mrs. Marie Moore and First Grade Teacher Mrs. Kasey Cone also attended the Rose Bowl and assisted in the dramatic win. Residential & Commercial We Service All Brands Honest & Reliable Service Licensed and Insured Experience You Can Count On Locally Owned & Family Operated Financing Available Service Agreements Thank You for Your Business! Like us On F~eOook ~ ~Si~SER ~:*~:A~:~