More than 35 Years of Expertise in Every Bag
Whether you're preparing for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) or just want to see more birds, we have the best seed in town.
There is a difference in seed blends and your birds know it. Our seed blends are chosen for our local birds and contain no cereal fillers - just seeds your birds love
Learn how you can participate in the GBBC by visiting www.birdsource.org/gbbc.
Save Now on ALL 20 lb. Bags of Seed or Suit*
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*Valid only at the participating store(s) listed. One discount per purchase. Offer not valid on previous purchases or sale items. Offer valid Now thru 11/20/2016
Winter Bird Feeding
Winter can be a difficult time for wildlife. Most wild birds rely primarily on wild food sources for their survival. However, many species come to feeders to supplement their wild diet, especially during severe and extreme weather. Some of the hardships wildlife faces today come from changes in habitat brought about by human activities. Cities and towns have removed trees and shrubs where wildlife used to find food and shelter. These changes have made survival more difficult for many birds. Although feeders can benefit individuals during weather extremes, they do not usually affect population numbers of birds. Nor can supplemental feeding compensate for the loss of habitat. But a feeding program at home, school, a hospital, or retirement home can add to personal enjoyment and sense of well-being, and foster an appreciation for nature and learning.
Winter: 'tis the season for feeding birds all across North Carolina, especially in those regions where it gets mighty cold and snowy. If you are a veteran bird feeder, you've probably gained lots of insight into the foods your backyard birds prefer. Perhaps you've learned through trial and error, or perhaps you did your homework and read up on the subject.
If you are just getting started in bird feeding, or if you are frustrated by a lack of success in attracting winter birds to your feeders, the first thing you need to determine is whether you are feeding the right foods. If you are not giving the birds what they want, you might not have many birds.
The following 7 foods are extremely popular with backyard birds all across North Carolina.
Black-oil sunflower seed: This seed is the hamburger of the bird world. Almost any bird that will visit a bird feeder will eat black-oil sunflower. Birds that can't crack the seeds themselves will scour the ground under the feeders, picking up bits and pieces. Bird feeding in North America took a major leap forward when black-oil sunflower became widely available in the early 1980s. Why do birds prefer it? The outer shell of a black-oil sunflower seed is thinner and easier to crack. The kernel inside the shell is larger than the kernel inside a white-or gray-striped sunflower seed, so birds get more food per seed from black-oil. This last fact also makes black-oil a better value for you.
Peanuts: Peanuts, de-shelled, dry-roasted, and unsalted, are a fairly recent trend in bird feeding, at least in North America. In Europe, feeding peanuts has been popular for a long time. Peanut manufacturers and processors have now identified the bird-feeding market as a good place to get rid of the peanuts that are broken or otherwise unfit for human consumption. Woodpeckers, jays, nuthatches, chickadees, and titmice will readily visit a feeder for this high-protein, high-energy food. Even cardinals and finches will eat peanuts.
Good mixed seed: Is there such a thing as BAD mixed seed? You bet! Bad mixed seed has lots of filler in it—junk seeds that most birds won't eat. Bad mixed seed can include dyed seed meant for pet birds, wheat, and some forms of red milo that only birds in the Desert Southwest seem to eat. Good mixed seed has a large amount of sunflower seed, cracked corn, white proso millet, and perhaps some peanut hearts. The really cheap bags of mixed seed sold at grocery stores can
and perhaps some peanut hearts. The really cheap bags of mixed seed sold at grocery stores can contain the least useful seeds. You can even buy the ingredients separately and create your own specialty mix.
Nyjer/thistle seed: Although it can be expensive, Nyjer, or thistle, seed is eagerly consumed by all the small finches: goldfinches, house, purple, and Cassin's finches, pine siskins, and redpolls. You need to feed thistle in a thistle feeder of some kind, the two most commonly used types of thistle feeder are a tube feeder with small thistle-seed-sized holes, and a thistle sock. A thistle sock is a sock-shaped, fine-mesh, synthetic bag that is filled with thistle seed. Small finches can cling to this bag and pull seeds out through the bag's mesh. All thistle seed is imported to North America; our nyjer is sterilized prior to entry into the United States and Canada, and will not grow under your bird feeder.
Safflower: This white, thin-shelled, conical seed is eaten by many birds and has the reputation for being the favorite food of the northern cardinal. Some feeder operators claim that safflower seed is not as readily eaten by squirrels and blackbirds (caveat: your results may vary). Feed safflower in any feeder that can accommodate sunflower seed. Avoid feeding safflower on the ground in wet weather; it can quickly become soggy and inedible. You can buy safflower in bulk at seed at our store.
Mealworms: We fed mealworms to a pair of nesting bluebirds all this past summer. They rewarded us with four healthy broods of young bluebirds. Most feeder birds, except goldfinches, will eat mealworms if you offer them. We always have Mealworms here at the store. Don't worry, they aren't slimy and gross. In fact, they aren't even worms; they are larval stage of a beetle (Tenebrio molitor), if that makes you feel better.
Fruit: Humans are supposed to eat at least three servings of fruit every day. Fruit is also an important dietary element for birds, but it can be hard to find in many areas in midwinter. Set out grapes, slices of citrus fruits, apple or banana slices, and even melon rinds, and watch your birds chow down. If you want to feed raisins, chop them up and soak them in warm water first to soften them up a bit. Offering fruit to tanagers and orioles is a traditional spring and summer feeding strategy, but many winter feeder birds will eat fruit, too.