Birds and bird feeders

That “Wild Finch Food” does a really good job of attracting finches. Unfortunately, they’re all greedy idiots. Over half of what I put in there yesterday wound up on the ground as they kept flinging out what they didn’t want. When this bag is empty, I ain’t buying that again.

We keep one feeder full of safflower, and they root through that, too.

I’ve always supposed they learned the habit at feeders that have garbage grain mixed with the good stuff.

It’s the only way the mourning doves get anything at our house. (We have a screen around the feeder that lets through agile birds, but doves can’t navigate through it.)

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Grackles swarm unprotected feeders here like bikers at a free buffet in a strip club.

Our feeder is about half sunflower seeds and safflower, they pick all the white out, then are forced to eat the black. And no one is eating the Nyjer, but it’s set up in front of the cat window, so I may need to move it.

We get the occasional handful of grackles - more frequently we get starlings. Neither sort hangs around long… here today, gone tomorrow.

We have four feeders active ATM… a vertical tube peanut feeder, a pressed-cake woodpecker/ blue jay /whoever feeder, an upside Niger feeder (that the sparrows learned how to use, although it’s mostly gold finches), and the house-shaped safflower bin, surrounded by the customer hardware-cloth screen.

Strike two, birds. Less than half a day and you did it again. You can eat what you dumped on the grass. You ain’t getting any more of that kind of food in the feeder.

Split from the Random Musings thread per @RRabbit42’s request.

I think there was some interest in what I was feeding the birds with. The stand is one I got from Walmart for about $25. It has four hooks for feeders and I think you could even mount one on the top of the center pole. To the right out of the picture is a simple two piece concrete bird bath that I clean and refill every so often.

The two feeders on the sides are “Squirrel Buster” units that are spring-loaded so that if an animal over a certain amount of weight gets on any of the four metal perches, it causes the cage to drop down around the feed trough.

Those are also the ones where the finches were flinging the finch food seed out of the troughs. The solution to that turned out to be the feeder in the center. They might still be dropping what they don’t like onto the grass, but at least now they can only do it a few seeds at a time. It doesn’t get empty very fast any more.

Right now, the buffet is (from left to right):

  1. Pennington Songbird Blend, though the sunflower seeds in their shells and the other nuts are a little large for that kind of feeder, so I have to get it unstuck every so often
  2. standard wild bird feed
  3. something called Nyjer Plus, which is nyjer seed, sunflower seed chips and a small amount of the wild bird feed
  4. over in the wooden feeder is a Nut & Fruit Blend, also by Pennington

I think it’s the Nyjer Plus that’s really attracting the birds because I’ve seen groups of 12 or 13 small brown finches at times, which might be American Goldfinches because the males are golden (brown during winter) but the females are brown year-round.

The rest of the visitors are black and white finch-sized birds, an occasional Stellar’s Jay, crows and a few squirrels. A couple of pigeons have started showing up in the past week. Even though there’s a lot of seed in the grass underneath the main three feeders, all of the birds will root around through it, so I’m not that concerned about it. Of course, I could always bring out the shop vac and recycle some of it.

The crows are the ones that will take peanuts up to my roof and crack them open on the metal covers for the attic fans. Now I also find peanuts in the birdbath. I guess they let them soak in there to soften the shell and the nuts.

I guess I consider them my unofficial pets since I don’t have to put a lot of effort into this. They must be getting used to me, because a few of the black and white birds were hopping around in the tree within five feet of me while I was refilling the feeders this evening. That’s good enough for now.


Maybe using a shop vac to recycle the seed that’s been dropped into the grass isn’t such a joke after all. The birds emptied feeder #3 in less than a day. Most if it is right below the feeder.

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My mother spends between £10 and £15 a week on bird food. She lives out in the country, and the local bird population has gone from the occasional bluetit when they moved in in 2010 to entire flocks of assorted natives battling it out over their particular favourite bird feeders in the two acres or so of garden - she has several feeders in strategic locations so wherever she’s gardening she can see at least two.

And yet she still thinks that a £3/mo Netflix subscription is a frivolity.

I have a small shop vac that has a 2 gallon container. After seeing some birds still flinging seed out of the tube feeders with the smaller openings, I decided to see how much I could recover from the grass. It turned out to be 1.5 gallons of seed.

So now, they’re going to get potluck for a while.

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