Bird-feeding is contributing to a significant agricultural enterprise – the annual production of a million tons of birdseed according to the Cornell University Ornithology Lab. About 25 percent of commercial sunflower production is used for birdseed. Millet, cracked corn, sesame seeds, many fruits, suet (solidified beef or pork fat), and niger thistle seed – and which isn’t the weed with the same name – are common foods to attract and feed wild birds. Supplying birdseed has become a multi-billion dollar business annually for agriculture producers, processors, and retailers. According to a 2018 report of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, at least 50 million Americans like to feed birds. On the other hand, Bird-watching, also known as birding, entails documenting populations of birds, photographing them, sometimes catching them to assess their health and band them, and may entail pursuit of life-time lists of as many species as possible.
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