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Bird Food Seed Blends Suet Pellets And More

Updated on February 7, 2016

Bird Food, Seed Blends And More

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With the main bird food choices being large and small seeds and suet, it is relatively easy to plan bird feeding. A supply of natural sources, such as fruit or nut bearing trees or shrubs will find favor among the feathered. A reliable supply of water, especially during extreme weather conditions, is highly appreciated.

Most songbirds including finches, cardinals, grosbeaks and sparrows are seed eaters. Many prefer a combination of seeds and bugs.

Bohemian and cedar waxwings, orioles, and mockingbirds can be bribed with apple pieces, orange halves, and other fruit.

Woodpeckers and nuthatches can be tempted with a squirmy tray of mealworms.

Hummingbirds are attracted to natural food sources, such as flowers, blooming vines and shrubs. They will visit nectar feeders on a regular basis, if kept filled, clean, and free from pests, such as yellow jackets.

All Purpose Seed Blend

1 part Black oil Sunflower seeds

1 part White proso millet

1 part medium Sunflower chips

Natural Food Sources To Attract Birds

  • Juniper
  • Black cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Grapes
  • Elderberry
  • Black walnut
  • Hawthorn
  • Hackberry
  • Maple
  • Mulberry
  • Brambles
  • Holly
  • Huckleberry
  • Oak
  • Olive
  • Sassafrass
  • Dogwood
  • Sunflower
  • Red cedar

Common Bird Food Seeds

Hulled sunflower seeds or chips are favored by most backyard birds, including the northern Cardinals, Nuthatches, Evening and Pine Grosbeaks, and crossbills. Black-oil seeds are small thin-shelled seeds, easy to open and rich in fat and protein. They rank as the single best wild bird food. They work well by themselves or as primary ingredients in quality mixes. Striped sunflower seeds are larger and thick shelled. Only birds physically able to crack open them, such as the Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and Grosbeaks can handle them.

Shelled unsalted peanuts can be set out on platform feeders. If offered in a tube feeder, make sure to change the seeds frequently, especially during rainy or humid weather, completely emptying out and cleaning the tube every time.

Safflower seeds have a thick outer coat, hard for some to crack open, but a favorite among cardinals.

Nyjer or thistle are tiny black needle-like seeds. Pine siskins devour on them.

White proso millet is a favorite with ground feeding birds including Quails, the Native American Sparrow, and Towhees. Low set tray feeders with excellent drainage can be very good choice for white millet.

Shelled and cracked corn is eaten by Quails, Grouse, Pheasants, Turkeys, Cardinals, and other species. It is likely to be contaminated with aflatoxins, which are poisonous even at low levels. Never buy corn in a plastic bag. Do not allow it to get wet. Corn intended for planting treated with fungicides is marked with a red dye, and be avoided for feeding purposes.

Milo or sorghum is a favorite with curve-billed thrashers and Gambel's Quails.

Golden millet, red millet, and flax are used as fillers in packaged bird seed mixes, but most birds shun them.

Suet Cake In A Bird Feeder

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Bird Suet, Food Pellets And Mealworms

Suet is an alternate food source to birds made from rendered fat. It comes in different shapes, from the square cake that fits in traditional wire suet feeders or balls, rounds or other decorative shapes. It is a perfect bird food for winter months, enjoyed by Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Cardinals, and most other insect-eating birds.Almost any seed or grain mixed with bacon fat, lard or peanut butter can be used. A basic suet combines equal parts of bacon fat and assorted bird seed. Put it in a tuna can and chill until it is hard enough to hold its shape. To prepare a suet cake at home, mix two parts each of melted bacon fat or lard and cornmeal in one part peanut butter. Cook for a few minutes, pour in small containers and refrigerate until needed. For fancier bird suet, you can bind cornmeal or oatmeal with straight peanut butter. Consider adding raisins, currants or apricots. To prepare a Pseudosuet cake, process one cup unsalted peanuts in a food processor until they are the consistency of butter. Then add one-fourths cup raisins and 1-2 tbsp cornmeal and process again. Press this mixture into a mold.

Pelleted food provides your feathered friends with optimal nutrition in an easy-to-eat, easy-to-serve format. Each pellet or nugget contains a baked healthy blend of grains, seeds, veggies, fruits, proteins, precise levels of vitamins, and minerals. Many of them are formulated for specific birds, such as the Canaries, Parakeets and so on. While seed diets yield messy hulls and discarded seeds, pellets offer little or no mess. They differ greatly in size, shape, style, texture and color, making for an appetizing diet for birds.

Dried mealworms are easy to feed and very attractive to insect-eating birds. They are the larvae of mealworm beetle, also called the darkling beetle. The larvae themselves may be called golden grubs. Live mealworms may be offered in a shallow dish with straight smooth sides or a specialized mealworm feeder. When offering them in dried form to birds, it is important to make sure they are in an easy-to-reach place. Make them visible and put them near perches for birds of all sizes to feed. It may take a little time for the birds visiting your backyard to realize the dried mealworms are a food source. Be patient and make sure you consistently put fresh mealworms out in the same place. Sometimes you can even soak to make them moist again and appealing to the birds. They can be served alone or added to bird suet or bird seed.

Reference sources:

www.birding.about.com

www.peteducation.com

www.northcoastgardening.com

www.birdsandblooms.com

www.almanac.com

www.allaboutbirds.org

www.surfbirds.com

www.dnr.state.mn.us

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