Don’t Forget The Birds….Top Ten Foods For Winter Wild Bird Feeding

By  | December 7, 2017 | Filed under: News

‘Tis the season for feeding birds all across North America.

If you are just getting started in bird feeding, or if you are frustrated by a lack of success in attracting winter birds to your feeders, the first thing you need to determine is whether you are feeding the right foods. If you are not giving the birds what they want, you might not have many birds.

Ten foods are extremely popular with backyard birds all across North America.

Black-oil sunflower seed. This seed is the hamburger of the bird world. Almost any bird that will visit a bird feeder will eat black-oil sunflower. Birds that can’t crack the seeds themselves will scour the ground under the feeders, picking up bits and pieces.

 Peanuts. Peanuts—de-shelled, dry-roasted, and unsalted—are a fairly recent trend in bird feeding, at least in North America. In Europe, feeding peanuts has been popular for a long time.

Suet. Most humans don’t want a lot of fat in their diet, but for birds in winter, fat is an excellent source of energy. Ask at your grocery store butcher counter if you don’t see packages of suet on display. No suet feeder? No problem—just use an old mesh onion bag.

Good mixed seed. Is there such a thing as BAD mixed seed? You bet! Bad mixed seed has lots of filler in it—junk seeds that most birds won’t eat. Bad mixed seed can include dyed seed meant for pet birds, wheat, and some forms of red milo that only birds in the Desert Southwest seem to eat. Good mixed seed has a large amount of sunflower seed, cracked corn, white proso millet, and perhaps some peanut hearts.

 Nyjer/thistle seed. Although it can be expensive, Nyjer, or thistle, seed is eagerly consumed by all the small finches—goldfinches, house, purple, and Cassin’s finches, pine siskins, and redpolls. You need to feed thistle in a thistle feeder of some kind—the two most commonly used types of thistle feeder are a tube feeder with small thistle-seed-sized holes, and a thistle sock. A thistle sock is a sock-shaped, fine-mesh, synthetic bag that is filled with thistle seed.

 Safflower. This white, thin-shelled, conical seed is eaten by many birds and has the reputation for being the favorite food of the northern cardinal. Some feeder operators claim that safflower seed is not as readily eaten by squirrels and blackbirds.

Cracked corn. Sparrows, blackbirds, jays, doves, quail, and squirrels are just a few of the creatures you can expect at your feeders if you feed cracked corn.

Mealworms. Insect- and fruit-loving birds that don’t normally come to feeders (such as bluebirds, thrashers, catbirds, and even warblers) can be attracted to a dish of mealworms. Most feeder birds, except goldfinches, will eat mealworms if you offer them.

Fruit. Humans are supposed to eat at least three servings of fruit every day. Fruit is also an important dietary element for birds, but it can be hard to find in many areas in midwinter. Set out grapes, slices of citrus fruits, apple or banana slices, and even melon rinds, and watch your birds chow down. If you want to feed raisins, chop them up and soak them in warm water first to soften them up a bit.

 Homemade bird treats. You can come up with your own recipes for winter bird treats. Smear peanut butter on a tree trunk, and poke some peanut bits into it. Melt suet in your microwave, and pour it into an ice-cube tray to harden. Before it solidifies, add peanut bits, raisins, apple bits, or other bird foods. Put the tray in your freezer to harden. Once it does, you’ve got cubed bird treats—easy to make and easy to use!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Rebecca Hovater State Farm Service One Dynamic Staffing
Champy's OTR Ichiban
Designers Graphics

The Quad-Cities Daily