Green Tractor Talk banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,708 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
What kind of seed does one need to out into a feeder to attract song birds?

We have several feeders and get lots of birds. They're filled with black sunflower seeds. Is it true the mixed seed is better for the song birds or is this hype to get you to buy the more expensive seed?
 

·
GTT's Pilot in Command (PIC)
Joined
·
8,558 Posts
I usually get the wild bird seed at TSC. You can get it in large bags, pretty cheaply. I think sunflower is mostly for Cardinals, and millet attracts Doves. Thistle brings in the finches. I also use suet cakes, (also from TSC, because they are less than $1 each, bought in 12 count boxes). Many birds enjoy those, including Woodpeckers.

I have also ordered suet cakes in bulk from Home page Nottawa Wild Bird Supply, and been pleased with the service and products.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
I find the mixed seed better. I also really like the ones that are "clean" with no hulls or corn. The such flower hulls can leave a big mess.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,883 Posts
What kind of seed does one need to out into a feeder to attract song birds?

We have several feeders and get lots of birds. They're filled with black sunflower seeds. Is it true the mixed seed is better for the song birds or is this hype to get you to buy the more expensive seed?
I have concocted a mix that works pretty well, and with minimal waste. I just mix it intuitively, but here's an approximation:

85 - 90% sunflower seed
10-15% mixture of (a) Chicken scratch (a prepared mix of cracked corn, grain sorghum and I believe some millet), (b) quail grass and (c) finch food.

This mix attracts all varieties of birds, with the exception of maybe Bluebirds and other bug/worm eaters.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,044 Posts
What kind of seed does one need to out into a feeder to attract song birds?
The kind that repels grey tree rats and cats. :lol:

Seriously though, different birds go after different seeds/feed. My mom must have five different types of seed she uses, and they all go into different feeders. Unfortunately, squirrels have no such preference.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,883 Posts
The kind that repels grey tree rats and cats. :lol:

Seriously though, different birds go after different seeds/feed. My mom must have five different types of seed she uses, and they all go into different feeders. Unfortunately, squirrels have no such preference.
My bird feeder is set on a piece of gas pipe about 5 foot tall with a squirrel guard. No problem with squirrels, but that Rackety Coon Chile' is not deterred by a little squirrel shield.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,542 Posts
IMO,the sunflower seed is the best "all around seed". Yes,it's messy,but it's a part of feeding birds. The mix might get different birds,but we've yet to see it,and we've been feeding for about 20 years.

Even the woodpeckers will get used to seeds. I made a suet feeder that had the cages upside down,where we figured only the woodpeckers or the clingers would be able to hold on. Yeah,right! The Blue Jays and the Crows somehow manage to constantly clean them out. Hardly ever saw a pecker on them,so we stopped with the suet.

The non seed eating birds won't go to a feeder no matter what you put out. Then again,it might depend on your geographic area too. Some types of non seed eaters may show up. The only way we see the non seed eaters is when they come to the heated bird bath.:thumbup1gif: Works out really well too.

We don't mind indirectly feeding the squirrel community, but the 'coons have cost us a lot in feeder replacement over the years. Just lost another a few days ago, and I'm fed up enough to where I'm just about ready to start shooting!:nunu:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,245 Posts
This time of year, my feeders get ambushed with unwanted black birds. I have to chase them off in order for the doves and small birds to get any seed.

Ace Hardware sometimes has a sale on mixed seed. Seems to attract a wide variety of birds.

Been seeing more squirrels than usual so I keep putting out lots of unshelled pecans for them. That has kept them away from the feeders for now.

On a pole feeder I installed a piece of hardware cloth at the top of pole to protect the birds from the cats.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,976 Posts
We use mostly black oil sunflower seed (#1), most birds like it. I also have a platform feeder a little ways away from the sunflower feeder that gets mostly cracked corn (chop), helps keep the Bluejays & sparrows occupied & away from the main feeder. Suet blocks (not visible) for the woodpeckers & a big "fruit & nut" block (#2) nearby. We usually go through 200+ lbs of black oil & 100 lbs. of cracked corn/year. Three boxes (12 pk) of suet & 3-4 fruit & nut blocks this season. ~~ Lowell

HPIM3006 (800x597).jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,554 Posts
I run 3 feeders on posts (black oil round screen feeder, mix on a platform and suet block cage) and 1rotating arm "squirrel spinner" corn cob feeder. (Fun watching newer ones try to figure it out!:laugh:) Squirrels and coons are not able to bypass my home made guards, lengths of 6" stove pipe w/caps centered on the poles just under the feeder. One gear clamp on the pole under the bottom cap keeps it up under the feeder. Every once in a while a squirrel will run up the pole... and then slide back down cussing, they never learn!:laugh:

Unless your coons can wrestle the pipe out of the ground (I've had some try!) the feeders are varmint proof. Bears are not covered by this warranty!

I've tried all local brands of "mixed seed" and they all contain a couple types of seeds that the birds leave alone. Little round "parakeet seeds" and some little flat ones. I usually do my own mix, cracked corn/black oil/peanut pieces small and large, etc. Squirrels get cob corn along with the ground birds "critter mix" - usually black sunflower/peanut/corn, etc. We love watching the squirrels and they cannot waste any of the feed in the feeders, I let the blue jays and black bird varietys do that...

Yesterday was our first redwing blackbird song, he was under the mixed seed platform feeder and on the sunflower. My favorite song of Spring!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,709 Posts
I usually get the wild bird seed at TSC. You can get it in large bags, pretty cheaply. I think sunflower is mostly for Cardinals, and millet attracts Doves. Thistle brings in the finches. I also use suet cakes, (also from TSC, because they are less than $1 each, bought in 12 count boxes). Many birds enjoy those, including Woodpeckers.

I have also ordered suet cakes in bulk from Home page Nottawa Wild Bird Supply, and been pleased with the service and products.

We are able to go there (Nottawa Bird Supply) Known here as Nottawa Gas (propane supplier) that branched out into bird seed and more. They used to have a Giant Newfoundland, called Bear that wandered the store.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,416 Posts
We've been trying different things with our bird feeders. For years, we mixed black oil with some wild mix to attract different varieties. Lately, we have attracted a bunch of gold finches that would literally just sit at the feeder and pick through the seeds (pulling them out and onto the ground) for the small thistle that is mixed in. With the finches sitting at the feeder openings, they don't allow the other birds to get a chance to get any seed (black capped chickadees, sparrows etc. It seems that the gold finches are in their own group and only change places with other finches.

So we put up a separate thistle feeder and just put black sunflower in the larger feeder. Guess what, more finches showed up, now there are finches at all the openings and they just sit and eat and sit and eat.

It seems that the finches go away in the late afternoon, and then the other birds have a chance.

We also put up suet for the woodpeckers, and throw around some fruit feed for a few cardinals that come around.

Regarding squirrels, we hang our feeders on a zip line between 2 trees, and have a couple of tippable top shields that the squirrels can't seem to get around. But then they are happy eating the seed on the ground that the finches throw out.

It's really nice to watch the birds, but the black oil sunflower seed leave a big mess. Not sure what we plan for next year, but we'll be feeding them for sure.

Just my 2 cents.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,554 Posts
I just came back in from filling my feeders and a talk with one of my downy woodpeckers. I have a circular 5" diameter 1/4" mesh 12" high steel feeder with a lift-up top. "Permie" (for permanent woodpecker) stays on the opposite side of that feeder and chirps while I lift the top and pour in the seed... He's the only one that will remain that close. If it's the same one year after year he's about 3-4 years old.

Squirrels vs. zip line feeders: PBS long years ago had an hour program about squirrels. They showed squirrels dealing with different versions of "guards" which included a long row of free rotating balls strung along the wire... They even beat that! One of the people on the program raised a baby squirrel and released it again full grown. It came back and sat on his kitchen window. He opened it, the squirrel came in... and promptly bit through his thumb when he reached out to it.:ROF: Made MY day!:laugh:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
I'm not interested in shelling out $110 for this, but it would be fun to watch!

Droll Yankees Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder at Wildbeaks.com
I have one. Yes a fool and his money..... but I can tell you it works amazingly well. Also droll is a great customer service company. I have broken the clear tube twice (shot air soft rounds into it) and they have replaced them both times free of charge.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,554 Posts
My entertaining squirrel feeder/squirrel excerciser.

squirrel spinner.jpg

With galvanized stovepipe priced where it is I can keep the squirrels off 10 feeders for the price of that Droll Yankee and not have to replace any plastic tubes.:laugh: Anyone have a "remote operated cat scarer"? No, injury and death is not an option. We have a couple that I toss a coffee can w/rocks in it at when I can sneek out the side door... But if it doesn't hit them on the head it does no good.:laugh:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,044 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,554 Posts
My mom and sister each have one of them. I have to admit, they do work. The squirrels will stay off it for about a week after the batteries run out, but them they start testing it again and you have to recharge it to scare them back off for a few months.
On one of my stove pipe guards the supports are 2X3's drilled out for the post and the stove pipe is screwed to the wood. This leaves just enough space for a squirrel to go up the post past the support, up into the pipe and reach the top of the post. This puts their noses juuuust out of reach of the feed since the platform is steel punch plate! They can smell it and they can see the birds eating it, but they can't get it! :)laugh: Evil laugh!)

And no matter, they DO try it every once in a while over and over, it's part of the fun of owning squirrels! That feeder has been like that 12 years or more so I'm sure it's not the same ol' squirrel. They are like cats, they never quit!:laugh:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,044 Posts
Could you post a photo of this? I'd like to see what it looks like. It sounds like it would work, and not cost $111.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,554 Posts
Could you post a photo of this? I'd like to see what it looks like. It sounds like it would work, and not cost $111.
Can do, I'll take some on my rounds today...

BUT, if you send me just $111 I'll send you a completely finished guard shipping included! But wait, there's more... I'll send you a second guard FREE for just the additional shipping cost of $29.95... And so it goes...:laugh:
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top