One of my online friends offered to help by kicking in to the birds’ feeding fund. Under any normal time, I’d say, “Oh no, we can handle it,” but the truth is, the birds need the right food and the good stuff is expensive. I know a number of people who gave up feeding them because they couldn’t afford it. You’d think if anything is cheap, it ought to be birdseed, wouldn’t you?
If you feed them food they don’t like, there’s nothing you can do to make them eat it. You wind up throwing away more than gets eaten. So I’ve got a pretty specific diet I feed them. It isn’t the best food on the market, but it’s good quality and they really like it.
Black sunflower seeds, millet, safflower seeds, crushed corn, dried fruit, nuts. The really good stuff looks just like human nibbling food.
Cold and hunger doesn’t convince the birds to eat food they don’t like. There’s some misinformation about that, that if the weather is bad enough, they will eat it. Birds are quite specific about what they need. And insectivore — like a Bluebird or a Robin — will starve in the midst of seeds. They only eat bugs. I’ve trying to overcome a lifetime of finding bugs totally gross because I need to add dried meal worms to their diet. Also, I’m trying to keep a balance of what kind of birds I feed.
I want to add some crushed corn and peanuts. The squirrels will obviously love it, but so will the Doves, Blue Jays, Grackles, Woodpeckers, and the ever-present Juncos and Chickadees. I would also like to add another post at a different corner of the deck so that the bigger birds don’t take over and push out all the little ones. Unless you have a really big property — and enough energy to travel from feeder to feeder, remembering what food goes into which feeder, it’s impossible. Too much hauling and trudging. So I have to keep the space not so big that I can’t manage all of them.
So feeders need to be confined to the deck where even with bad weather, I can usually find a way to at least fill the feeders. I never intended this to become such a responsibility, but you get sucked into this stuff. And it’s fun. The whole household has gotten into it. Not what I expected, but I have to admit that it’s the most fun I’ve had in this long, long year.