A reader asks: “I am new at feeding the birds here in London. What is the best seed to use to get the most birds to my feeders? Should I use more than one kind of seed and if so how do I do that?”
I am not a bird expert but I did make a few calls.
Birds prefer what they can find naturally so when you leave grasses and some of the perennial seed heads still standing in the fall birds will eat from those first. Flowers such as brown-eyed Susan, coneflower, blanket flower, sedum and sunflowers are some of the most popular seed heads. Once we have a snow fall it is often difficult for birds to find these seed heads and that is when we can come into play.
My favourite seed to offer birds is black oil sunflower seed, because of the diversity of birds — such as blue jays, cardinals, evening grosbeaks and many other big billed birds — it attracts. The black oil seed has a higher fat content than the striped sunflower seed and therefore provides more energy for the birds. Also the shell on the black-oil is thinner which makes cracking it easier for the birds. The one drawback is it is a bit messy when all those shells are dropped on the ground, but some of the smaller birds will scour the ground of smaller pieces and help with the clean up. Make sure you have a feeder that will take this large seed and also that the birds have access to it. I often use the top of my patio table to allow more birds to feed at once.
Another wonderful source of energy for birds in winter is suet. You can buy blocks of suet — mixed with seeds, peanuts or dried fruit such as raisins — anywhere bird seed is sold. Suet is usually put in a wire cage and hung for the birds. You can make your own by melting suet purchased at the butcher counter and mixing in other bird food. Pour it into a mold and freeze it until you are ready to put it out for the birds. Suet is a big favourite of wood peckers and blue jays.
A good all-purpose bird seed mix that includes black-oil sunflower, white proso millet, cracked corn, peanut chips, sunflower hearts and even some dried fruit — will work. Be careful the bag of seed is not all cracked corn or filler the birds will not eat.
Note from WSOE.Org : This content has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.