Finding More Answers on the Backyard Birds Eating Habits

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As mentioned in previous entries, I have explained that I have been going deep with birds and cupcakes. Well, I have more news. I found out that these birds are only eating the icing and not the cupcake part. They aren’t even sparrows, as I have noted before. They are actually “Yellow-rumped Warblers”. I did some research about them on wikipedia and a bird-watching site, and nowhere, does it say that they eat anything besides insects, that is, except for the myrtle-wax berries that they eat on the east coast. There, these birds are called “Myrtle Warblers”. There are 3 other names given to them as well, which varies on location. During the winter time, these birds migrate hundreds of miles, which I think is quite impressive. They have such small wings, but yet they are able to travel so far with them. I am not sure if they traveled here to stay during winter, or if they are here all year-round. They seem to be content with the icing they are eating. Over the past few weeks, the birds have been increasing by the numbers. I don’t know how long I can keep giving them cupcakes, without my mom or my siblings finding out. It is strange that these warblers are eating the icing. I just don’t get it. Warblers are very picky on the foods that they eat. I tried putting out carrots and they didn’t eat that. They don’t like meat either. Now, there is a certain bread that they like, particularly the wheat kind. I think they will eat cheese, but I’m not sure. As far as the icing goes, they must be getting it confused with the wax. They seem to like the raspberry icing versus the other icings. They will eat every flavor, but chocolate. They seem to know what is safe for them to eat, based on their colors. Some colors may indicate poison to them. I’m not sure what those colors are, but another YouTube friend named Darian03 told me about that.

Image

The cupcakes themselves are being eaten by the Blue-Jays, which are extremely intelligent birds. In fact, did you know that they can mimic human speech? Yes, it’s true, and because they are corvids, just like crows, ravens, and magpies, they will search for whatever food sources are available. Obviously, they are smart enough to be able to survive. They’ll eat a variety of foods, just like us basically. I’m not sure if they eat everything. They aren’t like house sparrows. However, they are migratory birds, so they need to be able to eat whatever they can use all their energy they need. I have a YouTube video that shows a blue jay grabbing a piece of a vanilla cupcake that I crumbled up and then flying away with it. They don’t normally eat them on the spot. They seem to always be flying away. They don’t stay in the same place for a long time like the warblers do. I’ll have other videos of blue-jays eating other foods at some point.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYXbOIu6LwU&w560&h=315]

Well, let me know if these warblers are like other birds? It seems like lots of birds are curious eaters. What do you think?

Freezer brakes – Insurance Doesn’t Cover it

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The worst thing in the kitchen just happened this morning at my mom’s cupcake shop. The freezer wasn’t working when we came in. Also, because the cupcakes were already defrosted, it must have broke shortly after we left the shop the night before. My mom had to throw away a lot of cupcakes. I’d say that she probably threw away at least 80 cupcakes. I couldn’t bear to even watch. I just stared at the wall the whole time.She called in a repairguy to fix it. He came in about 5 hours later, and apparently, it wasn’t the freezer itself that was broken but the output breaker that was broken, so my mom’s insurance didn’t cover it. That was $250 that my mom had to take out of her own pocket. As far as the cupcakes go, we could only put out so many cupcakes to sell today, since my mom still had to put icing and filling into them. My mom made all new cupcakes today, which she’ll sell tomorrow.

Hopefully I won’t have to wake up early with her for the next few days, because my siblings have off from school next week. I really want to stay home alone to edit my next YouTube video. I want to make a video series called “Beaks and Tweets”. They will contain videos of anything bird related. I will do an intro, where I’ll act and talk like a bird. My goal is to try to keep feeding the birds cupcakes for a whole month. If I do that, they might get used to me and they might even start eating right out of my hand. I doubt that’s ever going to happen but all I can do is try. Lately, I’ve been waking up at 4 am to go to my mom’s shop, then I don’t get home until 7 pm. The birds won’t be able to see me throwing the cupcakes, unless it were daytime. That makes it pointless to do. I highly doubt the birds will get used to me if they only see me giving them cupcakes a few times a week. What do you think? Do you think I can pull this off?

Trying Something New with Throwing the Cupcakes in Forest

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I’m sure everyone who has read the blog about my depression may realize that I have been throwing a few leftover cupcakes that we didn’t sell at the end of the day into the forest. Well, I started setting more and more of them on the ground. One day, my sister threw cupcakes into a small bag and she forgot to throw it in the trash at the restaurant. I found it right inside the trash can at the front porch. There were more than 20 cupcakes in there. Oh yeah, I said to myself that I really hit the jackpot big time! My depression was gone completely when I came back the next day. Guess what, there were still cupcakes there. It took 3 days for them to disappear. I have already been convinced that either a raccoon or a skunk ate them. Well, about 2 weeks ago, I started throwing them on the tree branches to see if any birds would eat them. I came back 15 minutes later, and I saw some sparrows eating the icing right off of the tree branches. They didn’t seem to eat the cake part, but that might be because they may have had trouble trying to peck at them to break them apart. About a week ago, I took it to the next level! Seriously! My mom made a new flavor called “Margarita” cupcakes and “YES” they do have alcohol in them. The first day my mom made them, she put more tequila than she thought she did. Still, even cough syrup still has more alcohol than our Margarita cupcakes had. She had about 6 cupcake leftovers at the end of the day. I threw them at the top of a tree, and guess what, the sparrows actually ate them! Can you believe that? The icing had the tequila in it. I hope those sparrows enjoyed them! Hahahahahaha! It’s too bad the Margarita cupcakes are no longer on the menu, because I really wanted to keep giving them those cupcakes. My mom didn’t like the idea of having tequila and lime cupcakes. She doesn’t even like Margarita drinks. The third day we sold them, the tequila was taken out of the recipe, and the fourth day is when we stopped selling them, because they just weren’t popular. We always had leftovers at the end of the day. Luckily, none of them ended up in the trash, because I snuck them out. They ate the icing very slowly, and it took them all day to eat everything. I did see a blue jay pick up but accidentally drop an entire piece of icing with its beak. The sparrows on the other hand ate them piece by piece, then they spent 5 seconds cleaning their beak, then they’d dive in for another. Some of them were pushing each other too. Needless to say, they were probably eating icing all day. It’s like they just keep eating…and eating…and EATING! I wonder what would happen to those birds if I did that for another month? Probably nothing. I’m sure they’ll manage in the wild with or without those cupcakes. I’m sure they’ll just get used to me and maybe they’ll start eating right out of my hand one of these days. I’m crazy about birds, so I just gotta get that to happen!

Here’s a video of myself presenting the cupcakes in my mom’s shop on the day before I took the cupcakes to feed the birds.

I had to hurry up with recording this video because my mom was picking me up to go to school. I had a math final plus a scene performance for “The Raisin in the Sun“, which is why I was dressed formally that day. You’ve gotta see this one because the angle was perfect. You might laugh when you see me throwing all those Margarita cupcakes on the tree branches.

I did make 12 videos of these sparrows eating the vanilla icing on the other cupcakes. I’ll need to edit those into 1 video because the quality isn’t too good. I plan to do that once I make an intro for the video. For now, I’d just like to say, I guess house sparrows aren’t the only birds that will eat table scraps. I guess most birds will eat anything and maybe we just don’t realize it. There aren’t any house sparrows in my area by the way because of the fact that I live in a forested area.

I am depressed…throws away 40 cupcakes!

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I would just like to say, I experienced such a terrible sensation when my mom started to throw away 40 cupcakes in the trash after we closed for the day. I never thought she would throw away so many. She made them today, but she never keeps them because they get a little dry the next day. They have a shelf-life of 48 hours. I believe she could have done something with those cupcakes. I think it’s terrible that she threw them all away. She kept 12 of them for us.  I mean, maybe it’s not all that bad. The ingredients in a cupcake, not including the icing and the filling, is sugar, flour, and vanilla or chocolate extract, depending on the flavor. Those food items are common to find, so maybe it’s not all that bad. I have a confession to make though. A few days ago, I started to place cupcakes in the forest in my back yard. I had a vanilla cupcake and a green velvet cupcake in my hand and I threw 2 of them, and I threw them hard, like a catapult. My mom didn’t have red dye at the time she made the cupcake so she used blue dye instead. The cupcake turned green only because she didn’t use enough dye. I forgot where I threw them at, but when I came back from school, I went back to check, and I couldn’t find them anywhere. I was there for 10 minutes looking for them. About 2 days later, I decided to place a vanilla cupcake in the grass at the edge of the forest. It was still there 4 hours later. I didn’t want my mom or anybody else to know I was doing this, so I grabbed it, which had ants all over it, and I placed it behind a small vine bush. The next day, I came back, and it was GONE! It was really gone! The icing was even gone too. I couldn’t believe it. I am guessing that a bird might have eaten it. What kind of wild bird eats cupcakes? Perhaps it was a crow, or maybe a European Starling, since those birds are common in urban areas. I do live in a rural area, but for some strange reason, their eating habits seem similar to what they have in their city life. I don’t get it! Their diet seems to be so ranged with insects and stuff that I wouldn’t even think they would eat something like that. However, the cupcake was infested with ants when I last checked. Maybe that bird had no choice but to eat that cupcake. Maybe it only liked the taste of the ants. Regardless, it still managed to eat the cupcake and I am obsessed to keep putting cupcakes out. Maybe one day I’ll make a video through my webcam at my back window to prove it. It’s got to be a bird, it’s just got to. If it is, then I’m probably just going to kill myself. I just can’t stand knowing that a bird wouldn’t be satisfied enough. They just can’t be satisfied with just one cupcake. I would need to put more out, but then what if my mom finds out? Oh my gosh! What am I going to do? I’m sure a bird won’t be knocking at the door for more. Birds have foraging abilities, that’s what they do. That’s their job. I can’t stress all this enough. I really need to know everything, every single detail. Do you think I should keep putting cupcakes out? What happens if I put too much out? Nothing can possibly happen, right?

I need help, desperately! I really will kill myself if I can’t know all the right answers. Maybe I’ll get over this. What I am doing must be wrong, otherwise other people would be doing this. I am so depressed being exposed to this. I can’t stand any of this. I can’t even stand to work at my mom’s restaurant anymore. I just CAN’T!

European Starling Lifeless on Side of Road

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I decided to blog about another bird that I found. I found this European Starling dead on the side of the road on my way home from my mom’s restaurant. It doesn’t appear that it was hurt or anything, however, since this bird was on the side of the road, it must have been hit by a car. It looked so similar to another European Starling that crashed into a classroom window. I made a blog about that a couple months back. I never took any pictures of it, and my mom deleted all my cell phone videos so I had to be descriptive in words last time. Well, I managed to take a picture of this one. Here’s the starling that was hit.

European Starling

After I took those pictures, guess what I did? I touched its wing. I actually did! It felt so strange! It put my finger on it, then I jumped up and went “Oh my gosh, I touched it, eww!”, then I started pedaling away. I then turned around, and then I did something else. I decided to see if I could flap its wing. I couldn’t. It was like….stuck. It felt like a robot. It didn’t seem real. It was a feeling that I never experienced. It was lifeless, like a machine. It’s like a toy………not really of course!

I then messaged my friend Darian03 about that. I spent about 15 minutes typing the message, then once I clicked “send”, I thought to myself, “I just got to go back there again!” I did. I bike rode back there and I decided to try to flap its right wing again. I guess I didn’t pull it hard enough last time. I took that wing and pulled it, and the wing started to rotate until it was all the way out. I could barely believe that it was actually coming out! I did the same this for the other wing. I flapped them both out. It felt like paper, although I was just feeling feathers. This is something I never experienced before. I mean, this is like a ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity!!! I wanted to do that so badly last time, but I never did. I felt powerful once I was doing that. That starling seemed to be alive again, in a way. It seemed to be full of life, flying again once I saw that those wings were all spread out. I’ve never touched a bird before, well, at least not a wild bird. My friend’s mom has a lovebird and I had a chance to pet it once. That was the only other time though. This time was different. I felt in control now. I felt that control once I flapped the wings of that starling! Then I let go, then the wings immediately closed back automatically. I don’t know why it closed like that, I guess that bird just had its wings like that when it died. It probably had to keep it in because there was no contraction at the time.

I’m letting go of something, although the saying always goes “Don’t let go!” Annegrace has a song called “Don’t Let Go”, and I really like that song a lot, and this is going to always make me remember it. I washed my hands once I arrived home of course. Some of us may not know this, but European Starlings carry the most diseases of any other bird. It’s true, and they are the leading cause of a lot of the major flu type diseases such as the bird flu. I am always careful when it comes to touching things like that, especially if its something that is dead.

I’m learning about poetry in my English Comp class. There was a website that talked about these starlings. William Shakespeare sent these beautiful birds here to conquer the New World. It’s a shame some people can’t appreciate these birds more, like he did.

Soda Twist

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I am kind of putting a twist on sodas today, or should I say….soda lids! A while back, I would always look at soda bottles as I bike ride past them. I always thought, maybe birds like to drink this. What if that was true? On Monday, I decided to experiment with this soda lid twisting just to see if giving the birds access to it would end up with them drinking from it. I made this video for Darian03 but I will share it here as well. He expected the outcome as he claimed, that is, no birds will drink it. That’s obvious! I already knew of the truth between birds and carbonated beverages for about 4 months now. I didn’t let that fact stop me from checking that out.

The second day, I came back to the soda bottle, and the bottle was at the same spot, untouched.

I came back the third day and I found out that the lid had moved. However, the bottle was at the same exact place. I came up with the conclusion that a bird really did drink it. It must have picked up the lid with its beak, drank it, then set it down a few feet away. A few sips won’t harm them so it seemed clear to me to assume that to be true. After I recorded the video, I moved the lid back to its original place and I filled it up with some of the soda that was still in the bottle.

The fourth day, I came back, and I found out that the lid was completely full of soda, just as it was before. I now knew that a dog probably grabbed the lid, or some other animal. I have concluded that a wild bird won’t drink soda. They know that water is the only drink they ever need.

Bike riding all the way to Hammonton

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I probably went on the farthest bike ride ever today. I bike rode from my location ofBurlington, NJ all the way to Hammonton, which is a solid 35 miles. I first stopped atRadio Shack to return my mini-A to USB line for my cell phone because I already bought a converter for it. I bought both just in case the converter didn’t fit. I saved about $30 because I had a mini-USB line already, but it was a mini-B so I needed a converter. Once I got to Hammonton, which was 3 hours later, I stopped into McDonalds to get a Sweet Tea because I ran out of my 2 waters. It was about 85 degrees out, and it’s a good thing it wasn’t any hotter, otherwise I would have never made it. After I left Hammonton I saw a small turtle on the side of the road. I took a look at at and I found out that it was dead after I saw a crack in the bottom right half of the shell. I think a car ran over it. However, this seems unusual because the tread of the tire should have made 2 cracks in it if that was the case. It could be possible that another animal attacked it. Here’s a picture that shows it.

I also saw a European Starling on a telephone wire about 5 minutes later, but as soon as a turned my cell phone on and even before I turned around, it flew away. I also saw a Turkey Buzzard on a pole about 30 minutes later but I didn’t feel like taking a picture of that. I just feel uninterested in those kinds of birds. I have seen those birds even in my grandparents’ backyard. They are almost everywhere where they live. Well, overall, I had a good bike ride, but it got too dark and I had to have my mom pick me up once I got 3 miles from my house.

I would like to say, out of all the birds I heard, I never heard any House Sparrow chirps until I got to downtown Hammonton. Dang, it seems like I can never find any in rural areas. Actually, there was one at a farm just outside of Hammonton, but that’s only because it relies on the livestock feed to survive. Whether urban or rural , it only occurs to me that they simply nest in our man-made structures, and that provides the warmth they need, especially when the winters are brutal.

What’s the farthest bike ride you’ve ever gone? I can’t suppose anybody has traveled more than 70 miles like I had. Let me know.

Continuation of last experiment

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I may not have realized it at first, but the fact that a House Sparrow pecked at one of thelemon cookies that I threw on the street made me wonder. Perhaps the House Sparrow was just unable to bite into the cookie. I then decided going back to the neighborhood I was at before, but instead of just throwing individual cookies on the ground, why don’t I try crumbling them up instead? So I did just that. So I had about half of a box of the lemon cookies, and I also had shortbread ones as well. I brought a piece of bread with me just in case. I took a piece of each and started crumbling each one and threw it at 4 places throughout the neighborhood I was at before. About 10 minutes later, I started to walk back to the other 3 places that I dropped the pieces at, and I saw 1, 2, and even 3 House Sparrows grabbing at all those crumbs. The bread pieces were gone before I even got back there. I then went across the street where there were several House Sparrows and once I threw a piece of another cookie, 2 House Sparrows came at it, including a crow, which took off with the piece once the other House Sparrow dropped it. I also went further down the road and I used up my last lemon crumb I had. I started to use the box of shortbread cookies. I threw the pieces of shortbread and bread pieces where another 3 House Sparrows were at. They flew away once I got 15 feet from them, and I waited for 5 minutes and they still didn’t come. I just got a flat tire at the time, so I needed to stay there anyways to fix it. Once I rode a little while and turned around, those 3 House Sparrows were at the cookies. One of the House Sparrows was still there when I got closer to it. It flew off with the piece in its beak once another person started walking on that sidewalk. I then turned onto a road where a church was, and across the street, there were 7 or 8 House Sparrows looking for insects in a parking lot. I threw a piece of bread toward one that was perched on a telephone wire. It swooped down and stuffed its beak with the bread. It didn’t seem as interested in the piece of shortbread cookie that was beside it, but another House Sparrow that was nearby grabbed it and flew off. Then, I took a few more pieces of the cookies and the same thing happened. There was maybe at least 1 of those sparrows that managed to see me throw the pieces of the cookie.

Here’s the concept, the House Sparrows may have mistook the cookie for a rock or something since they couldn’t break into it with their beaks. That means, the only way those House Sparrows were going to eat those cookies is if someone were to have walked into it, or the weather managed to break them down. I’m sure within the 2 days those cookies have been sitting out, either situation could have happened. I had to realize that they eat “table scraps”, not entire meal portions! Now it seems that they’ll eat anything as long as it is in crumbs. Dang, that House Sparrow was just unable to eat that cookie a couple of days ago because the cookie was too large to bite into. Who would have known?

Here’s my YouTube video that shows a House Sparrow grabbing a cookie crumb and flying off with it at the end.

The Answer to Finding House Sparrows’ Feeding Habits

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I decided on going on a bike ride today, but not just any typical bike ride. The idea of finding out what House Sparrows eat and why has got me interested in taking a journey in finding some close up.

I bike rode to Burlington yesterday at about 4:30 pm. Once I got there, I opened my backpack, and I started randomly dropping two flavors of girl scout cookies, chocolate fudge and lemon. I got these cookies in class the other day because a classmate that works for the distribution center had a whole box that he was just giving away. I certainly didn’t put these cookies to waste, since they were going to be put to thrown away anyways. I used the entire box of chocolate cookies and half of the lemon ones. After I threw a cookie or two at 6 or 7 different places at a ghetto neighborhood, I came back 20 minutes later to find that not a single cookie was bitten into. I couldn’t believe that. The answers to all of my problems just hit me in the face when I threw my last lemon cookie. I started throwing it, just like a frisbee, when it landed right behind a House Sparrow. He then turned around, pecked at it a few times without opening his beak, and then he flew away. I knew just then, that these House Sparrows know what foods are good and bad for them. It seems that they’ll only eat those kinds of foods if they are really desperate, or if they are treating themselves. Also, since its the summer season, most House Sparrows are only looking for insects to feed their young.

I continued to sit at that curb, feeling disappointed that I never got close to a House Sparrow. I thought there would be a House Sparrow that would eat right out of my hands. I was wrong. I sat at the curb for about 2 minutes until a police officer pulled over behind me. He first started by asking me this, “Have you been to this area before?” Then I said, “No”. Then the officer said, “Do you know where this is?” Then I lied and said, “No, I have no idea what this place is, I’ve never been here before.” The officer said, “This is Burlington City. Can I take a look at your ID way quick?” Then I pulled out my military ID out of my wallet and I handed it to him. Then the officer asked, “Where are you from exactly?” I said, “Springfield” Then he asked, “Do you mean Springfield Township?” And then I said, “Yes.”. Then the officer asked, “Have you ever been arrested before?” Then I said, “No! Not at all.” The officer then asked me to open my backpack. I was so worried. I opened it up, and then I opened the part where I had the cookies in it, then the officer asked, “What is this.” Then I said, “Just some snacks.” Then the officer said, “Did you know that you are in a bad neighborhood? There’s a lot of crime in this neighborhood. You probably shouldn’t be here.” I immediately left, but I snuck back after I knew the officer was gone, then I checked the 6 or 7 places that I dropped the cookies and guess what, they were still uneaten. That would have been so embarrassing if the officer knew I was throwing chocolate and lemon cookies to the House Sparrows! That will be the last time I’ll go to that neighborhood. I’ll try Phili next time.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkK59CKqYNk=480&h=390]

So far, I’ve been sick to my stomach

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I recently found out on one of my recent blogs exactly what bird fell onto the classroom window. It was a European Starling. I would like to point out something pretty cool about those kinds of birds. Well, they can pretty much talk just like we do, I mean they can only minic but indeed, people do keep them as pets. In NJ, they are one of the most common birds, but they are also the #1 pest bird. They do carry diseases and cause property damage. That’s why they are considered pests. I was on a website that explained and illustrated the top 3 pest birds, and while I was finding out about the European Starling, the #2 pest bird just so happens to be the House Sparrow. Now, after reading this quote, “Its ability to nest in urban structures, eat urban scraps and a large breeding capacity are some of these adaptive traits.” (http://www.njnwcoa.com/birds.html) Once I read that, I was surprised, and I just had to read up more. I’m the kind of person that always keeps up on all the answers. So I hit “bing” and I did just that. Eventually, I came up with another website that said that there was a House Sparrow and a scientist went through its stomach to find that it has injested over 830 different foods. I think that’s incredible. Basically they’ll eat anything from hot dogs to cotton candy. They have absolutely no preference because of their foraging nature. They have also been around humans for centuries and have nowhere else to go. They are social toward us and some do not even fear us. They have made their way into restaurants and processing plants and just about anywhere where they can find food. The ultimate questions set before me, and since I enjoy looking at statistics, I really wanted to know, exactly what percentage of a House Sparrow’s diet is table scraps? That’s when I started to really get into some further research. On a study using regurgirated samples on House Sparrows, seeds, insects, fruits, and grains that was in the diet was successfully recorded. The percentages were shown on the website. However, there was no record of any table waste because the food was digested too quickly. I was so surprised that I saw that statement. I can’t see how those sparrows survive by eating those kinds of foods but they do. They truly do. In rural areas though, they typically eat only livestock feed, grains, fruits and insects but in urban areas, their diet is mostly seeds, bread, and other foods that people provide or leave to them. I can officially say that House Sparrows are adaptable in our world for centuries because we are here to take care of them. In places where there are lots of people, there are lots of House Sparrows. On the other hand, in places where there are sparse numbers of people, there are sparse numbers of House Sparrows. One of these days I would like to get a House Sparrow of my own as a pet. I am going to give it the life its always dreamed of. Well, that won’t be years down the road unfortunately, since I do get really busy these days. If I find one that’s injured though, I’ll certainly be more than ready to undertake the task of taking care of it.

Well, I’m sick to my stomach only because there are still questions that still mind-boggle me about House Sparrows. I’ve done about 10 hours of research and I believe that these questions will remain a mystery. In the meantime, if you would like to answer them, feel free. I would like to know what their life span is in urban areas, because even though House Sparrows can live up to 12 years, the life expantacy is only 2 or 3 years. The population density is quite high in metropolitan areas, so I imagine that since a lot are reproducing, that they are doing quite well. I have read a lot of things, such as human intervention, bacteria, and radiation from cell phones shorten their life span. However, these could only be some of the causes and I always wonder whatever could be the real truth? Could the foods that they are eating play a part of it?

The stress of researching has only made me sick and even I can’t even eat as much sweets and stuff anymore.