Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Sometimes the little bird wins!

Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2014, at 1:43 PM
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  • Speaking of our birds, the bluebirds showed up with a flurry this morning as well. Four came to the feeder at one time and it made for a bright display.

    Hopefully this signals an tapering off of this roller coaster weather we have been having.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Jan 28, 2014, at 3:31 PM
  • Steve,

    Do you have any issues with birds throwing the bird seed out of your feeders?

    Seems I have more on the ground than in the feeder sometimes, then when I'm at work, the neighbors Guineas come over and eat it all. Getting tired of constantly filling the feeder and feeding the neighbors birds....

    -- Posted by espoontoon on Wed, Jan 29, 2014, at 6:37 AM
  • Yes, I do have that issue.

    I have probably created the problem by mixing some nice "goodies" in with standard sunflower seed. The birds know there are preferred seeds and they kick the others out of their way.

    I have researched this from time to time and not found any great solutions. If I just set out the expensive goodies, they all are eaten quickly. I can't afford too much of that.

    Others have put a second screen below the primary feeder to catch the seeds and hulls, then winnow them to separate the empty hulls from good seeds and put them back in. I like that best but if the seeds are wet, it does not work.

    Speaking of bird feeders, I need to go out and fill them again. :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 29, 2014, at 2:05 PM
  • Thanks Steve! I never thought about that but I bet that is what they are doing.

    I'm not an expert bird person but I think it is the Finches that are doing it.

    One day after filling it, it was half empty already with seed all over the ground. I've got to find an alternative....

    -- Posted by espoontoon on Thu, Jan 30, 2014, at 6:37 AM
  • After tonight's projected 12 degrees my answer to the birds will be "look down"!

    I'll probably shovel the seeds to an open area to spread them out and then give them a few days to clean up their "leftovers" before new food is brought out.

    A different version of that works in my refrigerator as well.

    All the dead trees I've been dragging up have increased my woodpecker and insect eating bird traffic. A lot of bark has been stripped off , exposing the insects underneath.

    I brush the larvae off before bringing the wood in, so it creates a sheer smorgasbord for them. Maybe that is why I have a flush of bluebirds as well?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 30, 2014, at 7:40 AM
  • Many birds will not eat Milo. If the seed mix you are using has a lot of Milo in it the birds will throw it away.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Thu, Jan 30, 2014, at 1:01 PM
  • Not sure why, but milo seems to be liked by western birds more that ours.

    Safflower seeds also are ignored by ours. At least I think it is safflower. Small white seed. If we see it in a mix we move on to something else, but maybe it is because we are feeding in a raised feeder.

    Maybe the ground-feeders like it fine. Anyone know?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 30, 2014, at 1:16 PM
  • I raked the piles underneath the feeder this evening to an open area. There were sprouted seeds in there that might prove delicious to the ground feeders tomorrow. We'll see.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 30, 2014, at 6:10 PM
  • Steve, I fastened a large pizza pan to the bottom of my non-sunflower feeders; they catch most of the seeds that are kicked out by the smaller birds...but the blue jays seem to be the worst about making sure the ground is covered by the milo that's in the feeders. As I write this, about two dozen doves are cleaning up the milo on the ground! Then, while I'm not looking, the crows come in and help with anything that's left! The cardinal, finch, titmouse and chickadee populations keep the sunflower seed feeders covered this time of year...out here in south-central Texas. BTW, safflower seeds are well-liked here.

    -- Posted by dkd57 on Fri, Jan 31, 2014, at 9:14 AM
  • I am not sure why, but we have never had the crows stop by. They are in the trees but I suspect our dogs would see them as big enough to chase, so maybe we are a "no land" zone around the feeder.

    If buzzards land in our trees, the dogs have a fit until they move. Lately we have 4-5 that come for a visit just before dark. I think they enjoy harassing the dogs. ;-)

    Are the safflower liked by tray feeders or ground? I hate to encourage the ground feeders because we have so many cats.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Feb 1, 2014, at 7:19 AM
  • Seems that very little of the safflower gets to the ground, though we have dozens of "house" finch, dark-eyed junco, and other very small critters that ground-feed, and may clean it up before I notice. No cats here, though a mid-sized hawk does make a pass at a flying meal fairly frequently.

    -- Posted by dkd57 on Sat, Feb 1, 2014, at 2:42 PM
  • Seems like I have to invoke the "clean plate" statute before refilling. IF they are hungry enough, there will be food available but maybe it will not be their preference.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Feb 3, 2014, at 7:29 AM
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