must….feed….birds….

via LoraLea, one of our very witty co-workers:

Top Five Signs you’re one of “The Bird People”…

5. You spend more money on bird seed and suet than you spend on “people food”.

4. You are afraid your neighbors have more feeders than you do….so you put up 6 more feeders.

3. You bought a special slingshot/water pistol/assault rifle specifically for the $%&$# squirrels.

2. You go to Highland Gardens for the birdseed and not the plants!

1. Even if nothing else in your day is going right, the merest glimpse of a Goldfinch is enough to make your day.

Feeding the birds is a wonderful way to keep in contact with you garden when it is too cold to go out. It appeals to our deep desire to continually “nurture” our own little backyard oasis. 

Remember to clean your feeders (bleach and water, rinsed and dried well). Feeders can get gross and crusty inside, not very condusive to taking proper care of our feathered friends.

It can be overwhelming choosing from all the types of birdseed that is available. Black Oil Sunflower is the go-to for most birds. The shell on Gray or Striped Sunflower is too hard for smaller birds to crack. Mixes are a wonderful way to attract many different kinds of birds, but beware, cheaper mixes add alot of Milo (sorghum), which most birds don’t care for. The birds will use their beaks to move the seed around, looking for a tasty morsel. That translates to moving fillers out of the way and on the the ground below. It isn’t a bargain if most of the seed ends up beneath the feeder. Sort of like buying potatoes with rocks in the bag. You aren’t going to eat the rocks! You will throw them out on the ground! 🙂

I prefer “shell-less” mixes (Lyric Delite or Lyric Woodpecker). They initially feel like they cost more, but I am not paying for shells, which end up on the ground. I mix it with “Fiery Chips”, shelled sunflower seeds coated with hot pepper dust. The birds don’t mind at all, but the squirrels- Take That!!

I also feed Suet, which is rendered beef fat, mixed with various ingredients. The higher calories are helpful to birds in winter. I stick to the ones that have nuts or fruit (raisins)- careful- the cheap Suet cakes (not found at HG) have “fruit flavored chips”- are you kidding me?? Fruit Flavored?? I also like the peanut butter cakes. To give my woodpeckers and nuthatches a real treat, I sometimes will get the suet with insects in it! Gross! But my birds love it! Higher quality suets will list 8% or higher protein, and have less corn and millet than other ingredients.

I keep a pretty dark blue ceramic saucer on my deck all winter long with a bird bath heater in it. No, it isn’t like a bird spa, clean towels included. The heater just keeps the water from freezing, about 34 degrees. Non- frozen water can be very hard for birds to locate during winter. They still need water, just like we do. My heater has lasted for over 10 years now, sounds like a silly thing to buy, but watching the birds dip and sip from the edge of the saucer makes me smile every time.

Next thing you know, you’ll have to get a bird i.d. book and a pair of binoculars. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Feeding the birds that find your garden a special place to be will give you a special feeling deep in your gardening spirit.

Swirling, twirling in nature~

Erica 

    

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