Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Edible Bird Feeders

Last Saturday the Tinker Nature Park hosted our "edible bird feeder" class. The Hansen Nature Center filled with people ready to learn what seed attracts what birds, and how to make their own feeders using seed and suet. We used multiple types of seed and suet to make seed wreaths and balls, hanging suet feeders, and more! Different feeders were made to attract different types of birds.


Hard at work making bagel feeders with nyjer


Time for more seed!


Showing off a pinecone feeder and hanging suet feeder


Father and daughter making a seed ball


It can get messy!


Just a few of the feeders made


Proudly displaying her feeders

Don't know what type of seed to put out for your birds?
Black Oil Sunflower will get you the best diversity of birds. Cardinals, chickadees, Jays, Finches, Sparrows, Nuthatches and Grosbeaks are only some of the birds you will get with black oil sunflower.
Millet will attract sparrows, doves, juncos, and other ground feeders.
Nyjer (or thistle) attracts finches, redpolls, and pine siskins.
Sunflower and Peanut Hearts are great if you are sick of the waste from seed shells in your lawn. These offer just the meat of the seed and the birds love it!
Cracked Corn will attract most songbirds, along with ducks, turkeys, and quail when spread on the ground.
Safflower is great if you're having squirrel problems. Squirrels won't eat safflower, but cardinals, grosbeaks, woodpeckers, and other songbirds will!
Suet will be eaten by woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees. Be careful though, because starlings, sparrows and squirrels will also eat it. Try an "upside down" suet feeder that has feeding openings only on the bottom. Woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees will be able to eat from it, but others will not.
Seed mixes are great if you don't want to stick to one type of seed. Be sure to pay close attention to what is in the mix you are buying. Many companies fill their mixes with a lot of millet and cracked corn. This can result in a feeder being dominated by house sparrows, and not much else. Also, birds will throw the seed they do not like (usually millet) all over the ground to get to the seeds in the mix they like (sunflower). There are a lot of great "cardinal", "chickadee", and "woodpecker" mixes that I would recommend.

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