When feeding the birds, the bird food you choose, will have a huge advantage in what birds visit your yard, and back yard for your viewing and hearing spectacle. The food you choose, can choose the birds you want to see, and can result in squirrels visiting your feeder as well.
Bird Food in Your Back Yard Feeder Can Result in Squirrels
If you are building a viewing bird feeder for your back yard, adding the staple bird food of black oil sunflower seeds, is a great way to start. While black sunflower seeds are the best way to feed most birds, squirrels love them too. They will do anything to get to this kind of bird food, and will dump your entire bird feeder on the ground! Squirrels are a team, and will work together to find, open and eat all of your bird food in your feeder if it is black sunflower seeds.
If you want to see songbirds, black sunflower seeds will be great will bird food for cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, juncos, doves, and for gold finches. House finches as well, love black sunflower seeds, and will eat from a pressed seed and suet hanging basket.
Millet and White Milo are Bird Food for Doves and Ground Feeders
If you are searching for a good food for ground feeders like juncos, doves, or morning doves, a millet mix will be your best food for wild birds. Creating a bird-friendly habitat for these birds should start with an easy way to clean and keep the ground fresh for bird food feeders. Often a daily scatter by you will suffice, but a low feeder with a easy platform, may be the better choice, with our busy days. Adding a large plate or plastic tray to any bird feeder, can be the best way to feed these kind of birds.
Canary grass seed, while millet, milo, wheat, red millet, safflower, and oat groats can be a great mix for your kept and wild doves. Squirrels are not too interested in this type of mix, as it is too tart or bitter for them. Most birds in your back yard, will not enjoy this mix as much as a black sunflower seed.
How can I keep Squirrels from My Bird Food?
Aside from buying a yankee droll feeder that flips your squirrels off the feeder, you can always use a caged bird feeder that only allows a small bird to enter the cage. Having a series of different bird feeders is the best way to showcase your bird food, and offer different varieties of height, branches and visibility for your bird feeders.
Another thing to consider, is squirrels are built and ready for competition. So, beginning to offer them challenges, a feeder that is built for their curious and tenacious nature, is a good idea. Build your feeders in your back yard, with some that can be easily infiltrated by your squirrels and bird, and others that have a deterrent from squirrels with a pulley system that hangs the feeder in a difficult place, and that offers a motorized flipper. This feeder will be your bird food dinner plate, and bring great watching for your back yard.
Categories: Birding Back Yard Tags: Advantage, Back Yard, Bird Feeder, Bird Food, Black Oil, Busy Days, Canary Grass, Chickadees, Feeding Birds, Finches, Grass Seed, Ground Squirrels, Hanging Basket, Juncos, Millet, Morning Doves, Oat Groats, Oil Sunflower, Rodents, Safflower, Seeds, Spectacle, Squirrels, White Doves, Wild Birds, Wild Doves, Yard Bird
Every back yard birder knows about the hanging bird feeders, and the dish bowl bird feeders, but few birders know that some birds, like the Junco, prefer ground bird food feeders. These birds often wait for the droppings from hanging bird feeders, and are hungry when the feeders do not allow any food to fall.
Ground Bird Food Feeders for The Junco
There are feeders that can be placed on or near the ground, but the Junco and other small sized sparrow birds, like to scratch. They are not picky eaters, and will eat the less loved white millet unlike a healthy squirrel who generally will pass on the millet, and go for black sunflower seed over millet. The ability for the Junco to search and scratch on the ground, is a great thing for your bird watching scenery, as they are unusually active birds on the vulnerable ground. Ground bird food for Juncos can be white millet, safflower, white proso millet, or even cracked corn that is mold free. Corn has a nasty habit of inducing mold on its open kernel, so if you intend to add some starch by adding corn, you may want whole kernels, and crack it yourself before you scatter.
Ground Bird Food Attracts Not Only Juncos but Other Birds
Other birds that may be attracted to your ground bird food will include Junco, but also, Sparrows, Doves, Quails, Towhees, and some Bobwhite Birds. You may want to include a healthy but skim scattering of food on the ground each time your fill your hanging feeders, to give your Juncos, and Doves the right nutrition for them. They are great scatter feeders, and need to eat off the ground.
Wild Turkeys too, like to scatter feed, and will scratch areas clean when you have wood chips underneath hanging feeders. Over the course of a few years, I have noticed that the soil underneath my feeders is rich and can be good to add to compost, to bring up the compost value for my garden. The natural visits from our feathered friends, are a good nutrient addition to any yard.
Ground Bird Food can Create some Challenges
Even if you do not intend to feed on the ground, your ground bird food options will naturally occur from a hanging feeder. The most careful hanging bird feeder still will have bird visitors, who like to dump food on the ground for others. I watched a sparrow come to my feeder one day, and empty the feeder out for the flock below.
The next time I filled, I added a small but open chicken wire sleeve into the hole, and the dumper came back, but then dropped to the ground, and discovered the scatter I had left. This way, the food was not as plentiful, as to encourage rodent and other wildlife visitors, but enough to provide the ground bird food that the sparrows desired.
There is always one sparrow in a group who is the dumper, and you can easily deter this one ground bird food eater with a small chicken wire sleeve inserted into the feeder.
Categories: Birding Back Yard Tags: Back Yard, Bird Feeders, Bird Food, Birder, Birders, Birds, Bowl Feeders, Cracked Corn, Dish, Doves, Food Eaters, Free Corn, Great Scatter, Hanging Bird, Junco, Kernels, Nasty Habit, Open Kernel, Picky Eaters, Sparrows, Sunflower Seed, White Proso Millet, Wild Turkeys, Wood Chips
During the winter, birds are often searching for food. There is a lot of birds that simply freeze to death, even in some what warmer weather. Do not stop feeding your birds, as they really are relying on you!
One way, you can always be sure to keep them fed is with an old trick, of buying a large container of peanut butter, and layering it on the tree bark near the feeders.
The squirrels often will eat much of it if you have them, but a peanut butter treat, every other day, can save them from starvation. It is full of protein that they need to stay warm, and will provide them with the nourishment they need.
In the end stages of winter, the situation is more dire than at any time of year. It is for this reason, you should cut up oranges, apples, bread, and any other left overs that you can find, for the squirrels and the birds. Do what you can to keep them alive, and be sure to keep a heated bird bath filled with water, as the warmer water really helps the birds stay warmer.
They do not have much to ask, only that you keep them in your schedule. We birders are such kind people! Thank you for doing your own part to save the birds this winter.
The beauty of birding, is you can do it wherever you are! There are so many species of birds, and if you just get outside, have a comfortable place to sit, you can listen for the birds. They are all around us, and in no place are they more apparent than in our back yards.
Listen and Learn
Back in your yard, you have a little ecological gem happening right at this very moment! The only thing you need to add, is a little food and water. If the winter gets below freezing, a heated bird bath, with a constantly filled water source, can be a lifesaver to your local bird populations.
I like to try and stop my squirrels from eating the bird food, but they have successfully ruined my feeders, and now I must be content to share the stash with them. For this reason, we have added two more feeders, and this allows our birds to get a chance at the seed. This seems to work, and the feeders are always active, until a stiff wind comes up, or a hawk appears.
You are going to love watching and learning. Why nature has to be in the depths of the mountains, on a camping trip, or along a rural area, is just not true. The beauty of birds is, they will come to you. Especially, in the winter. If you have a lot of cold weather, and covered land, where birds are living on feeders, you need to continue feeding, as they are relying on you to keep them alive.
The winter weather can be hard on birds, so feeding and watering will be a very happy way to keep your back yard birding active and fun!
I do understand, it is hard to feed the birds, and not get sucked into the rodent world. They are truly one of the best battle warriors you will encounter when you feed the birds. Yesterday, the squirrels decided to take down one of my Yankee Droll Flippers, out of the tree. They worked on it all together, one in the tree, one on the tube, and the other hanging while the fully charged bird feeder, flipped him around. The weight of the full tube, the squirrels, and the movement, allowed it to slip, and hang only a foot off the ground. I could not believe it, but then, they are super smart, my squirrels are.
Enjoy I thought! I will have to relocate you all! It will be a bit of time, but we are going to have to get the Havahart cage out, and start catching them one by one. We have a wildlife relocation area very near our home, so they may already be relocated by us at one time or another. I do get some great fun, by catching them, giving them the peanuts in the cage, and then driving them away from our feeders. It is a great way to really make your bird feeding efforts, work, so to say.
We have many tall feeders, with flippers, turning devices and long chains from tall trees. Eventually, they learn how to get into them, and the only way to remove them, is to let them join a new squirrel population a few miles away.
Such smart squirrels, need a chance at new feeders, don’t you think?