Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Peanut Butter - Part Seven of Seven

Every bird that feeds at a birdfeeder will eat peanut butter. Woodpeckers, chickadees, and titmice are the most commom birds attracted with peanut butter.

Be careful how you offer it though. You do not want to add it to your birdfeeder in large quantities. The sticky peanut butter is not good if it gets on the birds feathers. Make sure that it is offered in a way that this does not happen. A big wad of peanut butter may also be just as hard for the birds to swallow as it is for us. We offer peanut butter in very small quantities when the weather is very cold. Smearing it on tree bark or a pine cone is a great way to offer it to the birds.
Find a nice sized pine cone and twist wire around the top. You want to make the wire into a hanger so you can hang it from a tree. This is a great family project to do with the kids. Spread the peanut butter over the cone and then sprinkle or roll it in your birdseed. Leave it in your freezer for a half hour and then hang the pine cone out in your yard where you can watch from a window. Get out your binoculars, because you are in for a treat. This will attract many birds to your yard.

We have a great peanut butter bird pudding recipe we would like to share with you. You will need peanut butter, corn meal, sunflower seeds (or bridseed) and bread crumbs. You will also need a large bowl and wooden spoon.

Add one part peanut butter to three parts corn meal and all your other ingredients. Each time you make a new batch, you can make it different because of the ingredients you choose to add.

Fold this mixture in the large bowl with the wooden spoon until it is distributed evenly.

You can use this mixture on pine cones or add it to a mesh bag. Tie one end of the mesh bag in a knot, fill the bag with your mixture and tie a string to the other end to hang it. The brids love this mesh bag. It is easy for them to hang on to as they eat the food through the mesh. Just make sure you hang it securely.

Stay tuned....Fred will be taking pictures of a bird feeder he made out of a tree branch. He drilled various holes throughout the branch and attached a hook on top with strong wire. We filled the holes with our peanut butter bird pudding recipe and hung it in the tree. The birds are absolutely crazy about it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

White Proso Millet - Part Six of Seven

You can purchase white proso millet as a hard shell or hulled seed. The hard shell can easily be opened by the beaks of smaller birds and the shell is hard enough to protect the seed inside from the weather. This is an excellent seed for throwing on the ground during the winter months because it is less prone to spoiling . This seed is best used for ground or platform feeding. Proso millet also comes in a red variety, but for some reason the birds prefer the white type, probably because it is slightly sweeter.

Hulled proso white millet is an easily digested treat for your birds and found in most mixes of wild birdseed. You can also purchase this seed by itself. This type of food is hard to find and very expensive though. The white tiny seeds attract a variety of birds, especially towhees, juncos, doves, native sparrows, quail and bobwhite. The painted and indigo buntings love white proso millet. These are two of the most beautiful colorful songbirds you will ever see. If these two types of birds are in your area, you may want to spend the extra money because the sight of them is well worth it!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nyjer Thistle Seed - Part Five of Seven

By adding nyger (Thistle) seed to your feeding regiment you will attract a lot of smaller songbirds such as finches and pine skins. The seed is highly nutritious and definitely something to consider buying in the cold winter months. There are special feeders available with smaller feeding ports to dispense the seed to songbirds. The seed is tiny in itself and is better dispensed using these smaller feeder ports. You can mix nyger seed to your daily seed. This will make it last longer and save you money in the long run.

Nyger (Thistle) seeds are tiny black seeds imported from Asia and Africa. Most bird lovers hang the seed in a thistle sock which can be purchased at your local pet store.

Nyger (Thistle) seed also will attract purple finches, house finches and juncos. Goldfinches turn a brilliant yellow color in the late spring during breeding season. Go out today and get a thistle feeder, fill it with Gold Nyger Seeds and attract one of the brightest and beautiful birds, the goldfinch, to you backyard.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Safflower Seeds - Part Four Of Seven

Safflower seed has become popular in recent years. The high fat, protein and oil content of this seed makes it a nutritional food source for the wild birds that frequent your yard. Cardinals are attracted to this seed. Downy woodpeckers and evening grosbeaks also enjoy safflower seed.

In addition to attracting cardinals, grosbeaks and downy woodpeckers, you can also attract chickadees, titmice and nuthatches. Did you know that there are birds out there that hog your bird feeders? Some of these types of birds are grackles, starlings and blackbirds. Using safflower seeds in your birdseed mix will deter these types of birds.

Safflower seeds are found in quality wild birdseed mixes and are expensive. Very rarely will you find them in bird seed mixes at grocery stores. Look for a wild birdseed mix that offers safflower seeds in it if you wish to attract cardinals to your yard.

Supposedly squirrels will ignore feeders with safflower seeds because they find them bitter. If you have a chipmunks in your yard, you may not want to use this type of seed because they love it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shelled Sunflower Seeds - Part Three Of Seven

Sunflower seeds without the shell attract many more different species of birds than black oil sunflower seeds and striped sunflower seeds combined. If you offered only one kind of food to the birds, this would be the choice for all of them.

These hulled sunflower seeds can be purchased whole or as chips, (sometimes called hearts) and both forms are used in many wild bird seed mixes. These hulled seeds make no mess of shells that accumulate under the feeders as with the striped sunflower seeds or black oil sunflower seeds. You must remember though, that the shells of sunflower seeds contain a component that is toxic to grass. This component will kill any grass that is growing around or beneath your feeders. Raking up these seeds are a must and because of this, many people often choose hulled sunflower seeds.

Feeding the birds hulled sunflower seeds can be a huge benefit to the birds because none of their precious energy reserves are wasted opening the shells during the cold winter monts.

Hulled sunflower seeds attract a larger variety of species including birds that are not equipped with the beaks to crack open shells or not usually associated with eating sunflower seeds. By putting this seed out you may see robins, thrushes, mockingbirds, thrashers, catbirds, sparrows and bluebirds feeding at the base of your feeders.

The best reason to put out hulled sunflower seeds though, is to attract goldfinches. They simply cannot resist this food. Hulled sunflower seeds practically guarantee they'll be regular visitors at any feeder. Don't be surpised if you also see house wrens, purple finches, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, grosbeaks and
even woodpeckers.

Because the shells have to be removed, these seeds are costlier than sunflower seeds in the shell. There is a draw back to buying hulled sunflower seeds. The shelled seeds tend to spoil faster if exposed to dampness, so watch what type of feeder you use. They should be offered in feeders that provide protection from the elements so they stay dry for the birds to enjoy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Striped Sunflower Seeds - Part Two Of Seven

Striped sunflower seeds are larger and less expensive than black oil sunflower seeds. They have a thicker shell and a white stripe on them. The larger size and thicker shell can make them harder for the small birds to eat, but the larger heavy billed birds like cardinals, bluejays, woodpeckers and grosbeaks do not have any problem breaking through to the sunflower seed inside. The small birds such as chickadees, nuthatches and titmice also can open the shells of striped sunflower seeds and will eat them when nothing else is readily available.

Are you wondering if these are the same type of sunflower seeds we snack on? The answer is yes. You can find these seeds on the shelves of supermarkets and convenience stores everywhere. They are just as nutritional for the birds as they are for us because they contain calcium, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin E.

The crops of striped sunflower seeds are screened so that the largest of the seeds are what we buy. The smaller of these seeds or "left overs" as the industry calls them, are sold as wild bird seed. These smaller seeds are why it is easier for many types of birds to enjoy them.

Striped sunflower seeds are the perfect choice to distract larger birds away from your bird feeders. This gives the small birds a better chance of eating with less competition. But better yet, throw some down on the ground in an area not occupied by the birds. They make an inexpensive treat for those pesky squirrels and just might keep them away from your bird feeding areas.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Black Oil Sunflower Seed - Part One Of Seven

Black oil sunflower seed is the most important seed in any back yard. It is a proven fact that more species of birds will choose black oil sunflower seeds over any other food offered.

Black oil sunflower seed has a higher percentage of meat and has a nutritious source of protein. The thin, soft outer shell makes it easy for birds to open, especially small birds. Once opened, black oil sunflower seeds offer more nutrients than any other type of seed. The seed has a high concentration of oil too. This is very important in winter. Birds use their oil glands to spread the oil over their feathers to keep them dry and warm.

Filling your feeders with black oil sunflower seeds will attract chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, goldfinches, pine skins, finches, grosbeaks and cardinals.

This type of seed may cost more but you will not be disappointed. We have been buying black oil sunflower seeds for years now and have a variety of birds in our backyard during the winter months. Fred fills the feeders on a regular basis. We have one that is designated for this type of seed only and it is always empty before the others.

Try black oil sunflower seeds in your feeders. We would love to hear your results. Check back for more information during the next few days on what other types of feed birds love.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What Type Of Birdseed Should You Choose

Now is the perfect time to be feeding the birds in your yard. Not only will you see what types of birds stick around for winter, but you may even catch a glimpse of a migrating bird as well. Choosing the right kind of seed can make all the difference.

Fred was out in the yard the other day feeding the birds after the big snow storm when the neighbor walked by with their dog. After shooting the breeze for a while the neighbor asked Fred a question about birdseed. What type do you use?

We all know that birdseed is readily available at the grocery store and costs a lot less than birdseed at a pet store or through a specialty catalog....BUT....Is it the same thing?

No, it is not! The grocery store brand, for less money, will not be as appealing to the birds. It is most always mixed with a lot of "filler" seeds. These "filler" seeds take up room in the bag and the birds find these kind of seeds undesirable. You know exactly what I mean. This is the birdseed you see on the ground after the birds have picked through it to find what they really want. The good birdseed is going to cost you a little more, but your birds will truly love you for it! And premium birdseed will actually give you more edible seed per pound than the other inexpensive seed mixes. Remember, you get what you pay for.

There are many kinds of birdseed to choose from, but a few basic types can satisfy the most finicky birds. Buying several varieties of seed in bulk and mixing them yourself can actually save you money, too.

Stay tuned please. Over the next few days Fred will let you know what kinds of birdseed attract what types of birds and why.