Thursday, February 20, 2014

Favorite Bird Seeds

   Every Fall we load up on bird seed.  We come home with large heavy bags and then transfer each variety in a separate container with a tight lid, trying to keep it away from those pesky mice that always show up in our garage in the winter. We like to use garbage cans, or those large plastic tubs;  anything works as long as it can't be chewed through and the only one able to remove the lid is a human.

   No matter how well we plan, we never seem to purchase the correct amount to get us through the winter  -- or maybe we are just trying to save money on that particular day.  Anyway, about this time of year we begin to run out of seed. Now we have to watch for the best prices.  We drive from hardware store to farm store, and then also check out the big box stores. Usually our local farm store ends up with the best prices, and we can buy in bulk there, weighing out just the amount we want, bagging it ourselves, and paying by the pound.

   The next step is to decide what we should purchase. We know for a fact that sunflower seeds are number one in any bird's book. But I also know when birds are hungry they will eat anything they can find.  I found a list of the best seeds to purchase to attract the largest variety of birds, so I thought I should pass it on to you. So here we go:

1.Black-oil sunflower seeds (I can tell you from personal experience this one is the Number 1 favorite.)
2.Black-striped sunflower seeds
3. Hulled sunflower seeds
4. White millet
5. Peanuts
6. Red millet
7. Golden millet
8. Canary seed
9. Corn -- whole, cracked, or milled
10. Thistle ( also called Niger) seed (favorite of the finches)

   If you are unsure of what to buy, go for the sunflower seeds.  It brings in the biggest variety. You can also buy a small amount of several different kinds and mix them together.  Watch your feeders to see if any is left behind by discriminating birds.  Then make a note of it and next time leave that one off your list.  Maybe it doesn't appeal to the birds in your area. Or maybe you are attracting something other than birds, like squirrels or racoons, and you would rather not be feeding them.

   Next time I'll give you a some recipes you can use with these seeds.

You might also like to visit my other blogs: An Herbal Bedfellow, & Grabbin' A Bite,

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Feeding the Wild Birds Your Leftovers

   It's been one of the coldest winters in history.  We all know how it feels to our unprotected skin, but what happens to the birds. Normally they pick at the berry bushes and old seed pods left behind in the fields and gardens looking for some food that has not been buried in the snow. This year it has been particularly difficult for them to find food, not only because of the deep snow, but also because of  the high winds we have been experiencing.  I have seen many little feathered friends struggling against the gusts just to get a few grains of seed from my feeders.
   I can't do anything about the wind and snow, but I can do something to help the birds. I shovel a path on my deck so I can reach the feeders hanging from the railing, and believe me, this year it has been quite a job. I no sooner clean a direct line to the feeder and more snow comes along to bury it in again,, looking as if nothing has ever walked there. But since my neighbors are taking care of my driveway, the least I can do is shovel this small area.
   If you have birdseed available, of course use that in your feeders. But in these desperate times, the wild birds will eat many of the foods you have right in your home. And maybe you're willing to share.

Here is a list of a few types of "people" food you can put on a tray feeder:
Dried apples
Stale bread, doughnuts, and cakes
Egg shells
Melon seeds
Cooked potatoes
Cooked pasta
Peanuts, unsalted
Dried peas
Pine nuts
Pumpkin seeds
Cooked Rice
Squash seeds

Make sure these items have not been seasoned in the cooking process already.  They may not be the birds' first choice, but they will be thankful you took the time to share your leftovers during the Polar Freeze Winter of 2013-2014.

You might also like to visit my other blogs: An Herbal Bedfellow, & Grabbin' A Bite,