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Bird Feeding Part II
November 05, 2018
A Woolly Bear in a torpid state.
Folklore goes something like this ---
The wider the black bands are, the more intense the winter will be.
Little black, a mild winter.
I suppose this means I'm in for an average winter (possibly).
Oh well, it was nice to find this one in my yard, some years you don't see much of them.
Fall colors have past their peak here in southwest Michigan.
There are some beautiful trees here and there, however.
There are a couple of maples across the street that are a brilliant, golden/yellow.
My girls are healthy as can be.
With me, the aches of getting older are a constant reminder.
Most of fall clean up is done, now I'm waiting for the leaves to finish falling so I can grind and mulch the beds with them.
The fur kids are all doing well.
Akita's allergies seem to be a bit better these days.
Both of the girls are due for a grooming later this week (I think).
The kitties ------
There cats, what else needs to be said?
Last week I touched a bit on feeders and location for winter bird feeding.
Today I will touch on 'Bird Feed'.
What works best.
What possibly to avoid.
And so on.
Bird Feeding Part II.
Most seed eating birds will feed on just about any seed or grain, to survive the rigors of winter.
Back n the 1960's, when I first started feeding birds, I had a crude platform feeder, using ground Indian corn We grew and gleaned field corn from local fields (I ruined my mom's hand crank meat grinder doing this).
Back then, bird feeding wasn't so popular, and there wasn't the choices to feed birds like now.
We lived in the country, a small woods behind the home and lots of wild fields.
In the dead of winter, cracked corn must've looked pretty good to all the birds.
Cardinals, Jays, Woodpeckers, Chickadees, and so on.
The platform was constantly busy (at night, it fed several rabbits too).
Now you can offer Black Oil Sunflower Seed (BOSS), Peanuts, with or without shell.
Millet (red or white), Milo, Wheat, Nyjer, Corn (whole or cracked).
Finch Blends, Premium blends, and Bargain blends.
Hull less feed and seed, patio blends, etc.
And suet cakes for every occasion, or so it seems. 'Feeding Birds' is big business these days.
I am giving you a few web pages to look at as well.
They not only offer some in depth nutritional information, they also offer you some history on most of the seeds.
We have veteran readers and some new readers.
Some of you are new to feeding birds.
I all I could do was offer one source of food, it would be
It is also high in oil content for high energy, and a good source of protein.
Again, high in protein and oil.
Hulled peanuts will go rancid or turn to mush if they are exposed to the elements to long.
This being said, I do have a peanut feeder (protected from squirrels), that is emptied almost every day.
A good source for small birds like the finch families.
Goldfinches, Siskins, Red-Polls, etc.
Do read this web-page, you may be fascinated by some of what you read.
High Energy Suet, raw and manufactured.
Birds don't really care what the suet cake smells like, or what other additives it may have.
Give your birds a chunk of raw suet from the butcher, and they will be happy.
Raw suet also keeps the squirrels away.
Commercial suet cakes are packaged to alert your senses, not the birds.
A bright package for your eyes.
Wonderful small for your nose that actually make you feel hungry.
Backyard birds have very little sense of smell, and very little sense of taste.
Go basic on this one.
Advertising will tell you the cardinals love it, and squirrels hate it.
It isn't a preferred food for squirrels, but if hungry ---
Give a Cardinal or any bird a choice, and ore than 95% of the time, the sunflower seed is taken first.
Not only that, Safflower is grossly over priced.
Grains like Corn, and Millet serve a purpose as well.
This is proof of my childhood days of feeding birds.
Not as high in oil and protein, they still feed birds.
Milo, in some locations, it is desired by doves, however it is mostly used as a filler product in cheap, or less costly blends of bird food.
I toss some cracked corn and millet under the shrubs for sparrows and other birds that land there.
Now they all get a choice and my yard is full of action.
If you choose to purchase a blend, Try and get a premium blend.
When you think you can't afford the good stuff and you purchase a bargain blend, notice how much ends up on the ground.
Are you really saving money on the bargain?
Now, I'm a bit parsimonious.
Yes, I can be cheep.
I buy this and that, and make my own blend.
No wastage this way.
I get several questions on waste , feeders and of course other critters like squirrels, and other rodents.
There really isn't a 100% lock down way to keep all the pests away.
I've place window screening under my feeders before.
This works on all the dropped feed, but becomes too much like work for me to do this daily, and then contending with snow.
You can buy specialty products to hang beneath your feeders that catch the errant seeds and allow a second batch of birds to feed at the same time.
Hull less, or no mess blends work well for not leaving a mess and placing a menu for unwanted guests.
Me, I guess I'm too complacent these days to let it bother me.
Rodents are pretty much ubiquitous.
Besides, the opossums and skunks do a pretty good job of gleaning for me.
I know this isn't what you want to here, however.
(A feather explosion this past Friday, under a feeder.)
My biggest challenges to feeding birds, are the predators.
Ambush Predators to be exact.
Hawks are a big issue for me.
This is why I now place stakes all over my feeding area.
The stakes, shrubs and such provide a bit of a buffer zone.
As long as my birds stay within, they are pretty much protected.
Last winter I saw the feather explosion of only two birds, and they were outside the staked area.
Not so attractive, but I get to watch my birds.
I've dragged on long enough.
Well, it is time to fly for now.
Before I go, here is a positive quote for your week.
“The past cannot be changed.
The future is still in your power.”
Hugh Lawson White(1773 - 1840)
How often do you dwell on the past?
I am guilty of it myself.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope".
"The heart of man plans his way,
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors,
We borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb.
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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