Wednesday, September 12, 2007


It's getting to be that time again. I have a few chickadees who are visiting my thistle feeder. They NEVER eat thistle seed in the winter at my feeders! They must be early "returners" looking for a handout. They know the location of my here they are. The pickings are slim since the finches are the only ones I feed (except Hummingbirds, of course) in the summer.
Anyway, that makes me think of bird seed.
A few years ago, I participated in an experiment for Cornell University Feeder Watch. It was to see what seed the birds actually liked enough to pick and eat, if given a choice. I offered sunflower, milet and mixed seed. There was NO question that they absolutely preferred the sunflower.
Since I don't like the mess created by the hulls, and since the hulls are toxic to the grass they fall on, I have ever since offered ONLY shelled sunflower seed. They love the seed, and leave no shells on the lawn. How much more perfect can that be?
I, of course, also offer the thistle for the finches. Occasionally the nuthatches go to that feeder as well. But, even they much prefer the shelled sunflower. Suet is there for the woodpeckers and anyone else that needs a little "beefing" up!
I don't put my feeders up until after the local black bears have pretty much found a comfy cave and will leave my feeders alone. That means that it's late October or early November before I begin this process.
I wonder if we'll manage to get through the entire winter before selling our home up here in the White Mountains.


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