Kenneth Kieser: The many benefits of feeding birds – Blue Springs Examiner

The Examiner

My mom spends some huge cash feeding birds all through the winter. In the course of the current arctic chilly snap, she bought two 40-pound baggage of fowl seed every week. Her labor of kindness makes it straightforward for her birds to outlive nature’s most hazardous Midwest circumstances.

Birds are required to eat each morning and night time, not like mammals that may eat and retailer meals. Not consuming means birds could not make it by way of a chilly night time. They require high-energy, high-fat meals to keep up their fats reserves and survive frosty nights.

Some birds get your hands on meals all day and construct up as a lot fats layers as attainable, then discover a place to roost out of the wind the place there may be some safety. They mainly shiver till first mild after they resume feeding on seeds, pine cones or in yard feeders.

Now and again you is likely to be shocked by different wildlife visiting the fowl feeder. Deer particularly will come by for a mouthful of grain. I used to be shocked one night to see a doe’s head go by my lounge window en path to our fowl feeder. They tipped the feeder till grain fell out, fairly fascinating to see how sure animals discover options.

You may even see a racoon or possum making an attempt to rob the fowl feeder. Possums and coons are night time vacationers. Possums particularly eat quite a lot of objects, together with canine poop — in case you discover it’s disappearing out of your yard. Hen seed is simply one other straightforward meal.

Sooner or later my spouse was watching our fowl feeder and observed a fowl perched on a close-by fence. The day was chilly and the fowl appeared to be hyped up, a trick they use to preserve extra physique warmth. A fowl landed on the fowl feeder and the puffed-up fowl all of the sudden unpuffed and got here after its prey.

The puffed-up fowl turned out to be a kestrel falcon, usually known as sparrowhawk, and the chase was on. My spouse watched them chase by way of the timber and each have been rapidly out of sight.

Squirrels, after all, are fixed guests, particularly after they can entry a simple meal. Squirrels love birdseed, nuts, sunflower seeds, fruit and corn, however they don’t favor every part that birds eat. Attempt stocking your fowl feeder with safflower seed, Nyjer seed or white proso millet, grains squirrels hate and so they’ll search for meals elsewhere. You’ll find these seeds at pet shops or on-line.

Nevertheless, there are extra enjoyable methods to discourage squirrels from consuming your fowl seed. A squirrel can leap 7 toes vertically, so place your fowl feeder away from buildings or timber, something they will climb on.

Many use a metallic pole to carry up the fowl feeder. Grease the pole after which sit again and watch the present whereas squirrels begin up and slide again down. Some fowl lovers connect the kid’s toy, a Slinky above and under the feeders, sending annoyed squirrels again to earth.

Picket variations are simpler for tree rodents to climb. Many who use wood poles tack on aluminum strips above and under the feeder. That is entertaining too as squirrels decided for seed slide down on the slick metallic.

Most business squirrel-proof fowl feeder poles make use of a metallic baffle, a semi-circular deflector attachment designed to maintain critters away from fowl seed. Squirrels can actually leap so ensure the baffle is put in excessive sufficient in order that the critters can’t leap over for a mouthful of seed.

Extremely advisable fowl seeds

Many can have a special opinion on the most effective meals, however listed below are a few strategies to get you began:

• Use solely good-quality fowl meals and keep away from most desk scraps, particularly bread. Desk scraps will usually appeal to rodents too, so most likely greatest to keep away from. I’ll notice right here that in the course of the current chilly snap my cousin set out desk scraps in his entrance yard to feed any fowl or animal that occurred by. He was shocked to see a bald eagle fly down and clear up the complete scrap pile.

• Black oil sunflower seeds could also be the most effective meals for birds in any season. These seeds have barely thinner shells and better oil content material than different kinds of sunflower seeds, making them extra environment friendly and nutritious.

• Suet is one other good selection to supply birds and is on the market in lots of blends. Supply small items in dishes or tray feeders to provide smaller birds simpler entry.

• Peanuts are a excessive calorie, fat-rich nut that appeals to many yard birds, together with jays, titmice, nuthatches and chickadees. They’re excellent for winter feeding as a result of they don’t freeze, whether or not you supply complete or shelled peanuts. Peanuts, too, combine properly in suet for winter feed. Don’t give birds flavored peanuts or any peanuts with sweet or chocolate coatings.

• Peanut butter is a superb feeding possibility as properly and might be smeared on bark or provided in small dishes or open trays. Each crunchy and easy peanut butter are good for birds.

• Nyjer or thistle seed is a favourite meals of winter finches corresponding to pine siskins and customary redpolls. This oily seed presents loads of energy, serving to birds retailer the fats they should preserve heat.

• Millet: White proso millet is a favourite meals of many small ground-feeding birds, notably dark-eyed juncos and different kinds of sparrows or doves. This starchy grain is cheap and might be simply provided in hopper, tube or platform feeders. Sprinkling it on the bottom will appeal to much more small birds.

Kenneth Kieser, a veteran outdoor author and member of the Waterfowlers Corridor of Fame and Nationwide Recent Water Fishing Corridor of Fame, writes a weekly outdoor column for The Examiner. Attain him at

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