Bird-feeding blues

Those of us who remember the old Mary Tyler Moore show may recall how disastrous her parties were. Either no one came or the cast regulars just sat around grousing about one thing or another. Well, just call me Mary. Before leaving for the Archery Trade Show in Indianapolis earlier this month I filled both my bird feeders thinking they would be empty when I returned. Surprise! Both remained full, or at least nearly so. It appeared the neighborhood bird community shunned my offerings for something better.

Bird experts at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Science say wild birds get about 20 percent of their winter food needs from backyard bird feeders and in bad weather they will flock to a bird feeder. Not mine!

Despite the bitter cold temperatures we had no one came to the party. I realize certain types of seed offerings will attract different species of birds, but for some reason the birds in my neighborhood are turning their backs – or beaks – at what I put out for them.

I have two squirrel-proof, hopper-style feeders that allow the seeds to flow to the bottom where the birds can remove them. One features various perches and the other has a metal ring or platform around its perimeter. I reasoned one of these two stations should appeal to a variety of my avian friends and keep them fed and happy and, throughout the summer and fall it did.

I know the seed menu is critical for attracting birds so I fill the feeders with a mixture of whole and cracked corn, black oil sunflower seeds, stripped sunflower seeds and others. Okay, I’ll admit there may be some millet and milo and maybe even some hulled oats that birds don’t exactly crave, but come on, dis me by not eating the others? To make matters worse, the mixture I’m offering now is no different than the one they gorged themselves on throughout the summer and fall. To add insult to injury the blue jays aren’t even showing up.

I’m suspicious enough to think maybe some of the other neighbors are offering a better menu than I am. Suet feeders attract a variety of birds, especially chickadees, wrens, titmice and nuthatches, and I’ve seen a few of those around during my neighborhood walks. Maybe I’ll weaken and add some peanuts to my seed offering and see it that makes a difference.  

Categories: Blogs, New York – Mike Raykovicz, Social Media

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