Feb 5, 2010

Keeping the Feathered Friends Happy

   I've been diligently feeding the birds this winter what with all the snow that makes their foraging so difficult. Even if that means braving snow and ice and temps in the teens to fill the feeders. I love to sit in my sunroom and watch their happy antics as they vie for their spaces at the feeders. It cheers up an otherwise drab day.
   I keep several feeders going at the same time: a tube feeder for sunflower, two tubes for thistle, and two larger vertical mesh-sided feeders that hold five and ten pounds respectively. Plus some suet feeders. The only seed I use is black oil sunflower. Anything else is a waste of money IMHO.

50057 40-lb Sunflower Bird Seed    Disgusted with the amount of mess that blackoil in the hull makes by the spring (shovel fulls under the feeders), I switched some feeders to hulless. It's amazing the increased velocity that the birds will down that seed! And how they will show preference to it! But it makes sense. Eating hullesss saves them vital calories that are burned pecking the meat out of seeds in the shell.
    But the voracious avians are costing me over $25 a week in hulless, so I'm afraid they are going to have to put up with more shelling just to slow things down.  All things in moderation, guys.
K&H Pet Products Ice Eliminator BirdBath 50-Watt De-Icer   I also learned from my friendly neighborhood bird store that I shouldn't be complacent about providing water when there is snow all around. Naturally I figured the little guys were consuming plenty of fluids with all that precip attached to their feed. But the shopkeeper explained that it took additional calories to warm up that sunflower slushee, which would have been better spent on building up fat. So last year I added a high-quality bird bath heater. It cost more but the cheap ones usually die after one season.
Cole's NI10 10 Pound Niger Seed    Another food source that I am giving up on is Niger thistle which is purported to attract finches. It does, true. But upon observation, the gold
and housefinches I have seek out the sunflower first. Even when the feeders are hung side-by-side. Couple that with the nightmare that sprouting thistle produces in my garden come summer---spine-encrusted plants that will put holes in your gloves---there seems no reason to purchase that costly stuff.
   So here comes another storm of, once again, blizzard proportions, and I have looked well to the ways of my (bird) household: everthing well-stocked outside and plenty more in the pantry. Bring on the storm. I'll be in the sunroom watching the show.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Have something to add? Tell Mother All About It!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...