wild bird feed

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Nyc10036
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wild bird feed

Post by Nyc10036 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:40 pm

I am confused by which bird feed to buy.
We don't have hummingbirds. At least I don't believe we do.
I mainly see the black sunflower seeds or the very small millet(?) or a combo for sale.
Except for a cardinal, a woodpecker, a bluejay, we have the small nondescript birds.
Not very knowledgeable about birds.

What should I be buying?

jebmke
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by jebmke » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:43 pm

We found that the mixes with millet attract house sparrows which are mean, useless birds that are not native.

We use safflower and sunflower hearts (shelled sunflowers) mixed around 50/50 in the main feeder and a peanut based suet in the suet feeder. The house sparrows don't seem to like safflower seeds. The woodpeckers really go for the suet.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Pajamas
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:52 pm

If you are where your username implies that you are, here's some information:

http://ny.audubon.org/conservation/attr ... our-feeder

There are plenty of hummingbirds everywhere on the East Coast in general and they are found in parks and other areas with flowering plants in NYC. If you don't have flowering plants near your home, you wouldn't see them. They feed on nectar and insects and humans feed them sugar water, not seed.

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/migratory-bi ... tar-recipe

jebmke
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by jebmke » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:56 pm

Hummingbirds will come to a hummingbird feeder. We normally put one out in the spring. There is a web site that tracks the migration so when they get to Virginia I put out the feeder - usually in April some time (I am in Maryland). The HBs hang around and nest in our oak trees. They usually leave in late September although we see them around the area into October. Four parts water and one part sugar for most of the season. I beef up the sugar in September when it cools off and they are getting ready to migrate and need to bulk up.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

livesoft
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by livesoft » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:58 pm

Nyc10036 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:40 pm
What should I be buying?
Get some bird seed with black sunflower seeds and very small millet to start with and see what happens. It is not complicated. Don't buy a large amount until later. Experiment. After that, some suet-based food.

Those small nondescript bird could be rare migrants from Northern Canada. Why not try to figure out what they are? I saw ruby-crowned kinglets this week. They look nondescript until a male flashes his ruby crown.

But I think you will also attract squirrels, rats, and mini-bears.
Last edited by livesoft on Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jadedfalcons
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by jadedfalcons » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:07 pm

Avoid mixes with millet, milo, & cracked corn. They're cheap filler ingredients, and a lot of birds don't attack them with gusto (ironically, doves do, but part of that is probably due to the fact that they're ground feeding and the rest of the buggers just yank those seeds out of the feeder and throw them on the ground.)

Peanuts are good. Fruits are good. Safflower has a bitter taste that birds don't mind, since they don't have taste buds, but squirrels don't like it. Safflower is a dirty white colour.

At the end of the day, black oil sunflower is a great all around seed. Most birds like it, and it has a high fat content which is especially useful to them in cold weather. It's cheap and basic, I sell tons of it. Downside is that if you get it in the hull, you end up with a bunch of hulls on the ground. You can get it as hearts, or chips as well.

Fine sunflower chips, nyjer seed (that's pronounced nye-jur, though some pronounce it a slightly more...colourful...way) and canary seed are great for attracting finches.

Your feeder will play an important role too. There are feeders for finches, and feeders for songbirds. There are feeders with adjustable ports to do both. Within the songbird realm, there are different types of feeders, as in tube or platform. Cardinals like platform feeders, but don't care near as much for a tube feeder.

But if you're just getting started, just grab a basic tube feeder and a bag of black oil sunflower, and experiment from there.

jdb
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by jdb » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:14 pm

Just refilled my hummingbird feeder this afternoon so the two HB’s wintering in our South Florida garden are happy, 4 parts water to one part sugar. Black oil sunflower seeds in feeder for the cardinals and squirrels. Never did figure out way to keep the squirrels out. But what all the birds like most is the bird bath, refilled every other day. Good luck.

protagonist
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by protagonist » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:17 pm

The owner of the Birdfeeder Store in My Fair City advised me to just use suet and black sunflower seeds...like people stated above, she says most birds like it and the suet is good energy food in the winter. I'm interested to see if others agree with this. So far it seems like they do.

In prior years I got a huge variety of birds daily....mainly woodpeckers, chicadees, sparrows, jays, finches, cardinals, juncos, titmice, and others as well
(W. Massachusetts).

For some reason, this year 80-90% of my visitors seem to be sparrows. I don't have an explanation for the sudden decline in species diversity. Perhaps somebody else can solve that mystery for me. Or at least guess since I have no clue. That is what Bogleheads is for.

TravelGeek
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:20 pm

protagonist wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:17 pm

For some reason, this year 80-90% of my visitors seem to be sparrows. I don't have an explanation for the sudden decline in species diversity. Perhaps somebody else can solve that mystery for me. Or at least guess since I have no clue. That is what Bogleheads is for.
Maybe someone else in the neighborhood is serving tastier food :)

Ace1
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by Ace1 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:21 pm

Jadedfalcons
Not to hijack the thread, but what do you recommend to feed the squirrels?
Thanks,
Ace

protagonist
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by protagonist » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:32 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:20 pm
protagonist wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:17 pm

For some reason, this year 80-90% of my visitors seem to be sparrows. I don't have an explanation for the sudden decline in species diversity. Perhaps somebody else can solve that mystery for me. Or at least guess since I have no clue. That is what Bogleheads is for.
Maybe someone else in the neighborhood is serving tastier food :)
That's my theory as well.

So if my suet and black sunflower seed no longer cuts the fudge with the judge because the neighborhood is gentrifying, what must I do to keep up with the Joneses? I'm willing to pay.

protagonist
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by protagonist » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:34 pm

Ace1 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:21 pm
Jadedfalcons
Not to hijack the thread, but what do you recommend to feed the squirrels?
Thanks,
Ace
My experience is try to feed the birds and you will be feeding the squirrels.

One just got in my roof and chewed a silver dollar sized hole in the ceiling of my music studio. Be careful what you wish for.

DarthSage
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by DarthSage » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:48 pm

I like a mix I get in Walmart, that has dried cherries in it for the cardinals. walmart also sells various types of suet cakes for about $1 each--you need something to hold them in. We use a stand-alone cage thingy (sold right next to the birdseed/suet cakes). You can also find feeders with holders for the suet cakes.

We have a ton of squirrels in our area--drives the dog nuts. We have a spinning squirrel feeder that you put dried corn cobs on (with corn still in them). It turns and looks sort of like a windmill. I got it in Lowe's. The only problem we've had is, the squirrels managed to get the (full) cobs off of it--we found a cob wedged into the morning glories that grow on our pool fence.

If you're really looking to attract more birds, consider planting a small garden or container of flowers. Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. sell mixes designed to attract birds/bees/butterflies. Birds also like a water source--birdbath, fountain, something.

likegarden
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by likegarden » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:51 pm

We have snow on the ground and get all kinds of woodpeckers. We only hang up two suet squares which do not leave mess on the ground. Our neighbor puts out seeds and then in spring has to rake up all the dropped seeds. It is important to hang up feeders such that squirrels can not reach them.
Last edited by likegarden on Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by livesoft » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:51 pm

Now I know where the corn cobs in my yard come from. :( We also find corn plants growing as weeds during warmer weather.
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Flashes1
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by Flashes1 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:47 pm

I put out a small bag of Niger seed that my Dad gave me and was astonished by the number of Yellow Finches, which I had previously not seen, swarm on the feeder. Unfortunately, the Niger seed is expensive, but I love Yellow Finches so I occasionally put it out.

Squirrels: I love these little daredevils so I buy a box of Hazelnuts from Amazon and feed them when it's really cold or snowy.

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CABob
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by CABob » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:55 pm

I suggest you visit a local shop specializing in feeding birds such as Wild Birds Unlimited to get their suggestions and advice. I would think they would be helpful. Also the Audubon Society.
Bob

tbradnc
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by tbradnc » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:09 pm

My wife makes suet out of crunchy peanut butter and Crisco shortening.

I've almost eaten it several times thinking it was some kind of candy. And while it probably tastes gross I bet it'd keep you alive for a long time.

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GerryL
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by GerryL » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:45 pm

likegarden wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:51 pm
...It is important to hang up feeders such that squirrels can not reach them.
HaHaHaHaHa. That's a joke, right? A squirrel's life depends on feeding itself, so it will find a way to get to any food.
I try to distract the squirrels by hanging a corncob for them -- well away from the bird feeder. And I scatter sunflower seeds on the patio below where the feeder is hanging to make it easier for the squirrels and large birds to eat without bothering the smaller birds. They seem to appreciate it. But every now and then I catch one of my squirrel acrobats hanging by his toes from the shepherd's hook and scarfing up food from the feeder.

[Edit:] BTW, here in Oregon we have hummingbirds year round. In winter I have to bring the feeder in at night so it won't be frozen in the AM. And if it snows I have to go out occasionally to brush the snow off so they can continue feeding.

minesweep
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by minesweep » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:16 am

Nyc10036 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:40 pm
I am confused by which bird feed to buy.
We don't have hummingbirds. At least I don't believe we do.
I mainly see the black sunflower seeds or the very small millet(?) or a combo for sale.
Except for a cardinal, a woodpecker, a bluejay, we have the small nondescript birds.
Not very knowledgeable about birds.

What should I be buying?
I've had bird feeders for several decades. The following is based on my experience.

Black oil sunflower seeds are your best option. Squirrels are very clever and acrobatic. Purchase a squirrel proof feeder or a squirrel baffle for a pole (they will climb up a pole without one). Or instead of a baffle you could use Vaseline or vegetable oil on the pole (as a temporary fix). A suet feeder is great for woodpeckers. I prefer the better suet made especiallly for woodpeckers (contains nuts, not corn and sunflower seeds). An upside suet feeder is even better as it keeps the nuisance birds (such as English sparrows away). They are not adept at hanging upside down. A peanut feeder is another option for the woodpeckers. The blue jays that you mention like the peanuts in the shell. Easier access for them than a peanut feeder.

The mixed seed contains millet, sunflower seeds, corn and milo. The cheaper ones have more milo as the ingredient. It's basically a filler and is less appealing to most bird species. The millet is even more of an attraction (than the sunflower seeds) to the English sparrow. A species that was first introduced to America from Europe back in the 1850's. They are the most abundant bird species in North America.

P.S. I found that the best price for sunflower seeds is at Walmart ($18.38 for a 40# bag).

How to Keep Squirrels Away From Bird Feeders

What Bird Seed and Other Foods Do Birds Prefer?

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DaftInvestor
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:20 am

CABob wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:55 pm
I suggest you visit a local shop specializing in feeding birds such as Wild Birds Unlimited to get their suggestions and advice. I would think they would be helpful. Also the Audubon Society.
+1
It all depends upon what types of birds you have in your area. The local shops are best at having a conversation about what types of seed work best in your area (and depending upon what types of birds you are trying to attract).
There are also local bushes/plants you can look into. Personally I am finding our holly bushes are a HUGE hit with our local birds - we have a large population feeding off of them throughout the winter including some pretty bluebirds (even in the dead of 5 degree winter in the Northeast).

Andyrunner
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by Andyrunner » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:25 am

Anything that does not have thistle. If you never want to walk barefoot again in your yard, by all means buy thistle.

minesweep
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by minesweep » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:36 am

One more thing. Don't forget to supply water for the birds (especially in the winter months). You don't need to buy a heater for the birdbath (if you have one). I purchased a rubberized container decades ago that is normally used for farm animals I believe. I can break out the ice and not destroy the container.

Or:
A simpler option—particularly if you have no outdoor electric outlet—is to buy several heavy-duty plant saucers that will not be cracked by ice and replace frozen baths with fresh ones each morning.

Don’t Forget Water for Birds in the Winter!

Broken Man 1999
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:39 am

After suffering many casualties, the squirrels in my trees seemed to have learned that to try to slide down the birdfeeder hanger wire while a big cat is waiting for them to slip and fall isn't a smart thing to do. Might take a few generations before the squirrels have to learn this life lesson again.

Broken Man 1999
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jadedfalcons
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by jadedfalcons » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:51 am

Ace1 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:21 pm
Jadedfalcons
Not to hijack the thread, but what do you recommend to feed the squirrels?
Thanks,
Ace
Honestly, they hit up corn pretty hard. You can get corn on the cob and special feeders for that, or just buy a bag of corn for them. Depends on what's in your area, stores like mine sell 50# bags of whole or cracked corn, which is far cheaper (per lb) than the 4# bags you'll find at the box or grocery stores.

Outside of that, they love nuts, so peanuts, either pickouts or still in the shell, and they also enjoy black oil. The main thing is to get them their own feeder, or even just a plastic container on the ground BELOW the bird feeder. That helps keep them out of the bird feeder. Just know that you have to pay attention to it in the rain, nobody wants to eat waterlogged food.

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dm200
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by dm200 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:59 am

Ace1 wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:21 pm
Jadedfalcons
Not to hijack the thread, but what do you recommend to feed the squirrels?
Thanks,
Ace
NOTHING ......

and take whatever steps necessary to keep them out of the bird feed

jebmke
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by jebmke » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:08 am

We have had one of these for years and squirrels have never figured out how to get to the seed.

http://www.duncraft.com/Original-Absolu ... rrel-Proof
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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JPH
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by JPH » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:38 am

We use Nat'l Audubon Society Supreme Blend Bird Seed (40 lb) from Costco. Birds and squirrels like it.
While the moments do summersaults into eternity | Cling to their coattails and beg them to stay - Townes Van Zandt

tbradnc
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by tbradnc » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:12 am

minesweep wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:36 am
One more thing. Don't forget to supply water for the birds (especially in the winter months). You don't need to buy a heater for the birdbath (if you have one). I purchased a rubberized container decades ago that is normally used for farm animals I believe. I can break out the ice and not destroy the container.

Or:
A simpler option—particularly if you have no outdoor electric outlet—is to buy several heavy-duty plant saucers that will not be cracked by ice and replace frozen baths with fresh ones each morning.

Don’t Forget Water for Birds in the Winter!
We put heating pads under lids for 30 gallon plastic trash cans. Works great, and it's cool to see a bath full of birds when temps are sub-freezing.

ER2023
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by ER2023 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:46 pm

jebmke wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:56 pm
Hummingbirds will come to a hummingbird feeder. We normally put one out in the spring. There is a web site that tracks the migration so when they get to Virginia I put out the feeder - usually in April some time (I am in Maryland). The HBs hang around and nest in our oak trees. They usually leave in late September although we see them around the area into October. Four parts water and one part sugar for most of the season. I beef up the sugar in September when it cools off and they are getting ready to migrate and need to bulk up.
We tried the same thing last summer and almost immediately got hummingbirds! However, soon after the bees (yellow jackets) came and took over the feeder. I couldn't even change the sugar water for fear I would get stung. What are we missing? Any advice would be greatly appreciated - would love to see the hummingbirds again.

ER2023
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by ER2023 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:49 pm

jadedfalcons wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:07 pm
Avoid mixes with millet, milo, & cracked corn. They're cheap filler ingredients, and a lot of birds don't attack them with gusto

Agree - we buy 50 pound bags for $16 at our local feed mill, but they have much filler which the birds don't eat (unless it's super cold like it was over the past week). We are looking for another kind, so thanks for the recommendations.

tomd37
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by tomd37 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:32 pm

I have been feeding birds ever since we returned from overseas in 1975. We have lived in coastal Virginia, the Piedmont region of North Carolina, and now in Middle Tennessee. I have five feeders out all year and in the spring through fall one of them is for our annually returning hummers. I have used all types of seed but for the last twenty-two years have settled on two versions of hulled sunflower hearts; the whole (coarse) and fine depending on what types of feeders I am using and what birds I want to attract (or not attract!). I used to use the black-oil sunflower seed but the wasted shells became a problem on the ground below each feeder. I hated the loss of the grass area and the need to shovel up the shells. :thumbsdown . Actually the increased cost of whole hearts at $66 for fifty pound bags is okay with me when considering how much of the lower cost black-oil is wasted in shells. They are both the same in nutrition for the birds. I go through about 500 pounds of seed each year.

Another key factor is to keep your feeders clean at all times and keep the seed dry. Also provide water year round if you can. We just finished fourteen days of single digit to upper teens daytime temps and I was changing the water as much as four times during the daylight hours. I take several of my feeders in at night so the raccoons don't get to them and carry them off. Those critters seem to love nectar in the hummers feeder if left out at night and have even lost a few feeders over the years if left out.

My last comment would be buy your seed where you know it is fresh. Based on what my needs are and what type of seed is available, I buy my seed at a local birding shop. They do a large volume of business and I have know worries about the quality and freshness of their seed.
Tom D.

Nyc10036
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by Nyc10036 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:32 pm

So much great advice!!!

I just opened a brand new 20 pound bag of the black sunflower seeds, and there is much more debris in it than in another bag from a different company.
So I am definitely paying attention to that.
I will end up buying the shelled seeds as I do not care for the mess of the shells.

Our very tiny back yard backs into "wetlands". A small stream runs through it.
I am not sure about offering water.
In summer 2016 I put a heated 6" deep bowl and we ended up with entire yard of small piles of poop. Yuck.

The squirrels are very clever.
I bought an expensive feeder that was suppose to be squirrel-proof but they hang in odd positions to get to the feeder. Sigh.

I am learning.

tomd37
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by tomd37 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:01 pm

Nyc - Squirrels are hard to beat, but they can be beat!

A squirrel can jump up off the ground as high as six feet and up to eight feet laterally off a building, tree, or fence. I use a bird feeder (2 of them) that prevents their access. It is the Homestead Super Stop-A-Squirrel feeder. You can find it online for as little as $25. I hang it down from a tree limb and use an 18-inch dome over it. The squirrel can come down the suspension wire but when it gets to the dome it slides off the outer edge and cannot get to the feed holes. A 16-inch dome or less will not work. If it ever does get on the feeder for any reason the weight of the squirrel will close a tensioned tray the birds sit on to feed and not allow access to the seed. Been using this type successfully for more than twenty years.
Tom D.

livesoft
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by livesoft » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:36 pm

Nyc10036 wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:32 pm
Our very tiny back yard backs into "wetlands". A small stream runs through it.
Let us know how many sunflower weeds you get in warmer seasons from seeds that sprout and grow.
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heyyou
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by heyyou » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:50 pm

A Shop-Vac with a plastic tub canister will suck up the empty sunflower shells. Do not use a narrow nozzle on it, since you want less suction, taking the shells but not the landscaping gravel. You can hear when gravel is being sucked into the vacuum's canister.

Our bird water dish is a car oil change pan fresh from the dollar store. The plastic pan's sides are flared so it is easy to empty when the water is frozen. On topic for BHs, the price is right for not hurting our retirement accounts.

My next stand-alone feeder will be a 3" thick, hollow, metal fence post, cemented into a hollow 8" deep, 16x16 inch, cinder/cement block. Think of a "T" set into a heavy base. The T-top is two wooden 2x4s, parallel with the post between them, attached with two through bolts positioned one above the other. Hang bird feeders from screws in the boards, or screw a tray onto the top of the wood. Better design suggestions are welcome.

ColoRetiredGirl
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by ColoRetiredGirl » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:47 pm

I do not know where you live but if you have a Wild Birds Ulimited store near you they have the best bird feed. Since I put out their feed it is like Grand Central Station. Daily, I have coyotes come to feed off the feed. I feel like I retired prematurely. They are eating me out of house and home. I wish I could list them as dependents. Be sure to put water out every day as they need water more than food.

fgtayl01
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by fgtayl01 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:53 pm

I buy sunflower and peanuts in bulk for here in the Mid West.
Also keep a thistle feeder for finches at some distance from the other so they aren't scared off.

likegarden
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by likegarden » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:15 pm

We have squirrels, but they are never able to reach the hanging suet cakes. You have to make sure that your bird food is about 10 ft away from deck rails and tree trunks. Do not place your bird feeder below tree branches because they will drop from there onto your feeders. My two suet cakes are hanging from horizontal irons which connect to a free-standing 8 - 10 ft long 1 inch dia pipe stuck in the ground. That pipe has an about 8 inch dia and 1 ft long squirrel 'baffle', as you can see in this link :
http://shop.wbu.com/c/bird-feeder-parts-accessories

Many years ago I used an upside-down plastic pail as a squirrel baffle. Squirrels were gnawing on the baffle but could not climb to the top.

protagonist
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by protagonist » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:40 am

OP....

Motivated by this thread, I just found the following forum on the internet: http://www.birdforum.net/index.php

Though Bogleheads has become the go-to forum for many people for solving all their problems (financial, personal, philosophical, scientific, whatev), the above forum is more specialized and may be of use to you. I just posted my conundrum there, climbing up the proverbial flagpole to see who salutes. Perhaps you might want to check it out as well,

They claim to be the largest bird forum on the web, and if nothing else, their name inspires confidence.

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stickman731
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by stickman731 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:36 am

jebmke wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:56 pm
Hummingbirds will come to a hummingbird feeder. We normally put one out in the spring. There is a web site that tracks the migration so when they get to Virginia I put out the feeder - usually in April some time (I am in Maryland). The HBs hang around and nest in our oak trees. They usually leave in late September although we see them around the area into October. Four parts water and one part sugar for most of the season. I beef up the sugar in September when it cools off and they are getting ready to migrate and need to bulk up.
Here is the migration map that I follow: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/humm ... n_map.html. For me in NJ, I place a couple of feeder out around the first of the April and get the first sighting between April 15-30.

For my other feeders, I use the cheapest mix seed mix that does not contain corn (it attracts squirrels that i repel with either peppermint or hot pepper spray) which are visited by cardinals, jays and woodpeckers.

I also have a feeder exclusive with Nyger seed for the smaller finches. The feeder should have tiny feeding holes other feeders with large holes gets empty in a day with all the doves feeding on the ground. I particularly like this feeder in the spring as I get yellow, red and blue finches - a beautiful splash of color around the yard.

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Index Fan
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by Index Fan » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:36 am

I use salt-free dry-roasted peanuts (not in shells), safflower seeds (preferred by Finches, Doves, Cardinals, Chickadees) and sunflower hearts or other 'no waste' seeds (often labeled that way) that don't leave husks or uneaten grain behind. I found I did not enjoy raking up all of the waste left on the ground, especially from inexpensive generic bird seed. I spend more money this way but it's a lot more tidy and less wasteful.

You may consider suet cakes, particularly in winter.

In February I make sure I have raisins or other fruit to put out for the Robins- the ones that winter over in Ohio often need the extra winter food by then.

I long ago made my peace with squirrels. They're fun to watch, too. Look for different personalities.
"Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis." | -Seneca

gd
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by gd » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:53 am

Every time I watch my neighborhood squirrels it occurs to me that my childhood fantasy of stuffed animals coming to life actually happened. Every time I consider a wildlife viewing trip to Africa, I realize I've got a bunch of profoundly wild charismatic mammals running around in my back yard. I've learned to tolerate the pesky and comparatively filthy birds at the squirrel feeders. YMMV.

BTW, they're pretty smart, but I've yet to meet a squirrel knowledgeable in house construction. Give them rotten, missing or cracked trim and they're happy to investigate what's behind it. Give them a solid piece of wood and they'll move on. Woodpeckers are another matter, able to hear bugs inside pristine-looking wood and act on it (followed by a squirrel investigating the unrepaired hole).

GLState
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Re: wild bird feed

Post by GLState » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:49 am

Get a squirrel guard so you're not feeding every squirrel and raccoon in the neighborhood...let them eat what falls to the ground. Its best if you don't mix seed. Blue Jays and other birds will kick out millet to get to sunflower seeds. Black oil sunflowers seeds seem to attract a wide variety birds. In our experience, the birds like the seeds in the shells much better than the sunflower hearts. We also put beef suet (available in the meat dept. at the grocery) in a cage. Beef suet attracts woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches. It is inexpensive and quite a long time...and the squirrels don't care for it. Finches are attracted to niger seed, one of the small seeds that don't see to draw sparrows. I like to put out peanuts. They attract woodpeckers, blue jays and chickadees among others. The birds love them. For us, safflower seeds and cracked corn aren't popular.

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