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FAQ Bird Feeding

Which seed attracts the most birds to the feeder? If you pick just one, it would be black oil sunflower seed. The best way to attract many birds to a single feeder is with a blend. With the right blend, the birds will "lick the seed tray clean" so no seeds are wasted.

Do different birds have different favorites? Like us, birds have their favorite kinds of food. Chickadees and finches, for example, like sunflower seeds. Steller's jays and blue jays prefer peanuts. White proso millet is the preferred food of juncos, sparrows, and mourning doves. The favorite food of pine siskins and some kinds of finches is the nyjer seed. Northern flickers prefer suet cakes. 

When should I put out my hummingbird feeder? Early May.

When should I feed suet? Suet is important in cool weather as a source of energy. Most commercial suet has been treated not to melt and can be used year round to attract birds.

Birds FeedingWhy do I need a separate feeder for nyjer? Nyjer requires a special tube feeder with very small holes to keep the seed from flowing out onto the ground.  (Nyjer used to be referred to as thistle or niger thistle, but it has no relation to the noxious weed that grows along roadways.)

Will bird seed knocked on the ground start sprouting in my lawn? Yes, only nyjer which is sterilized to keep the seed from germinating, and a blend called Perfect Patio won't sprout. 

How do I keep squirrels out of my bird feeders? Position the feeder far enough from trees, fences, houses so the squirrels can't jump onto them. This could be as far as 10 feet away. Use a squirrel baffle on the pole below the feeder to keep the squirrels from climbing up the pole. Several bird feeders are called squirrel proof because they have clever ways to keep squirrels out with cages or by using the weight of the squirrel to close off the feed or spin the squirrel off the feeder. Blend some Cole's Flaming Squirrel Seed Sauce into your seed. This hot sauce deters the squirrels but has no effect on birds.  

Birds aren't eating my seed anymore. What's wrong? Be sure the seed is fresh. It can get stale or moldy. Empty the feeder, clean it and fill it with fresh new seed. If this doesn't work try a different blend.  Be sure there is a source of fresh water nearby. The number of birds is also effected by the time of year  and the migratory patterns of birds. Another possibility is a new predator like a neighborhood cat or a hawk.

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