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