|"Bird Seed analysis"
Bird Seed was bought from a National Discount Store for about
twenty-four cents a pound. The bag did not allow a view of the
contents, which we separated above.
1 pound (4 Cups) was measured and sifted to remove dust and debris;
this yielded about one Tablespoon, as shown.
Then the resulting "seeds" were sifted again to yield Millet-sized
seeds. That produced about 1 Cup of the "good stuff".
The balance was mostly Filler which Song Birds often scratch out of the
Feeder to gain access to the preferable seeds.
This Filler was mostly Milo. The remainder was precious little Sunflower Seed, Corn
cob, Corn, cracked Corn, and wheat. The latter three tend to
attract "English Sparrows" which is the last thing you want near your
So roughly 1/4 of the Seed Mix was useful to most Song birds. That
means it cost about 24 cents for 4 ounces or 96 cents a pound. The
irony of it is that the local Farm Center sells bulk Millet for 79
cents a pound, which is all choice seed and costs 17 cents a pound less
than the "cheap" Mix.
So the bottom line is that "you usually get what you pay for". And
unless you enjoy paying 20% more for filler mixes, or making
times as many trips to fill the Feeders, it may be worth your while to
seek out a store that sells bulk Bird Seed. Or buy plain packaged
Millet or Sunflower Seeds which will keep most of your Song
If you're caught in a pinch and must buy that mixed stuff, buy
transparent bags which display the contents. Then look for bags that are
high on Millet and Sunflower Seeds. This ratio varies among
manufacturers, and even
among batches of the same manufacturer.
To cut your Sunflower Seed bill by 75%, go HERE.
It's best to put different seeds in different Feeders.
Then Birds will not scratch out perfectly good seeds to find their
favorite morsel. Locate Feeders where there is escape from Hawks, that
will be attracted to the "Bird Buffet" which you create.
Three dedicated Feeders for Sunflower Seeds, Millet, and Thistle Seeds,
plus a Suet Feeder and heated Bird Bath will ensure the
health of Song Birds overwintering in your back yard.
fifth very useful Feeder for Egg Shells will help maintain their
Calcium level. Just bake Egg shells for 15 minutes at 400 F. Then crush
them finely. Put some in a Feeder, and more on the ground.
If you start feeding all year long, you should never stop.
You will be
feeding youngsters that may not get the benefit of being
to forage natural sources by their parents. Your Bird Feeder is the
only food source they will know.
A better plan may be to fill the Feeders during the winter months until
Spring nesting begins. Then quit during the summer months when Nature's
pantry is full.
This will allow the
young Birds to learn a valuable foraging lesson, and not concentrate them in
the area of the Feeder, which may make their inexperience an easy mark
for prowling Cats and Hawks.
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