Changing gears for a bit from our home renovations, I thought I’d talk a bit about our property… mainly who we share our property with! Per the style/philosophy when our 1980’s shed style home was built, we live in a wooded neighborhood. The idea was to “blend in with nature”: so, most of the homes are tucked into the woods… which we have plenty of here in Georgia. Along with voles, lizards, snakes, and squirrels we have birds. Rarely do we have cardinals, but we do have blue birds, woodpeckers, nuthatches, and the occasional finch (gold and purple).
I like to encourage the blue birds especially, so I thought I’d list the most effective bird seed/food and feeders that I have had experience with.
When doing research (and personal observation of course), I found that the usual “more economical” mix of bird seed has a lot of filler seed that most birds aren’t interested in. They kick it out and make a mess. So I decided to choose a combination of safflower and black oil sunflower seeds. The sunflower seeds aren’t hulled, but I don’t mind.
50 pounds seems like a lot, but we have hungry birds. We purchased our “harder to find” safflower seed through amazon.
I have found reasonable sales at local stores for the sunflower seed. I just roughly mix a half and half proportion. I keep the seed in a metal laundry bin (discontinued from Ikea) to discourage rodents (if there were any, not that I’ve seen any…just in case).
My mom gave this bird feeder to me as a gift. It is spring loaded and the weight of a squirrel drops the cage over the seed openings. Many bird feeders have this feature, but I haven’t seen a successful squirrel so far. (They could just be very stealthy though.)
To attract bluebirds specifically, we purchase dry mealworms. I’d say 5 pounds lasts most of the year. As the bluebirds found our feeder, the population increased by attracting more birds and just by new hatchlings.
I use a bluebird feeder designed specifically to only allow small birds access. The dome can be adjusted up and down: up to allow space to “train” the birds on the feeder, and down to slowly reduce the access. It’s kind-of fun watching new baby birds figure this one out. We still have occasional finch visitors though. Sometimes the birds can empty this feeder in a day.
I only used a finch feeder one year. For some reason, we had a swarm of finches that were eating all of the other seed – so I bought this feeder just for them. The thistle seed isn’t the cheapest, but it was better than the birds gobbling up all of the safflower/sunflower seeds. It turned out that the thistle was pretty messy.
Everybody loves suet – especially in the winter. I will still fill all of the feeders year round, but I put more emphasis on the suet in the winter. I only buy the “hot meats” variety: the squirrels and chipmunks won’t touch it. I have tried other kinds like “berry treat” and the squirrels attacked it.
Here’s our feeder (on the stairs leading up to our font door). Our cul-de-sac provides a large clearing that sort of mimics a field area for the birds to swoop across. Two bluebirds and a downy woodpecker. Oh, and all of these photos were taken through our foyer windows, so they may be slightly hazy looking.
A rebelled woodpecker on our cheapest of cheapest suet feeder. A nicer feeder would have a wooden plank for woodpeckers to rest their tails or two slots with a little roof. I probably should get a slightly nicer suet cage: most of the better ones have two suet slots, but I think one suet cake is plenty.
A nuthatch (which we nicknamed a “long-billed chickadee”) These are the guys that make holes in our house – not the woodpeckers!
A rare snow here in Georgia:
I’ve been spotted:
We have a dogwood near our feeders that serves as a nice perch for all of the birds:
Attracting bluebirds does have it’s downsides… we have heard peeping in our master bedroom closet:
So we gave the birds an alternative. (They still prefer the house though… in addition to the new birdhouse).
That’s my little birdseed guide! Black sunflower seed, safflower seed, mealworms, and hot suet!