About us: We own a wild bird feeding supply nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why do Birds Scatter Seeds from Feeders?

I've have a flicker that flicks seeds all over and the jays are no better. What are they looking for? ~ Indianapolis, Indiana

Birds look for the very best seeds. First, fresh and heavy seeds full of oil are chosen over the dried up older seeds. Blue Jays and other birds will shuffle through the seeds until they find what they are looking for. They'll pick a seed up in their bill to test the weight. If it's not heavy enough they'll pick up another to compare the weight of of the seeds. It's not worth their while to eat or cache seeds that are dried out or bad.

Second, certain seeds are preferred over others. Nuts and sunflower seeds are chosen most often by backyard birds for their high calorie/ounce ratio due to its high fat and protein content. Cheap filler grains like oats, wheat and milo decrease the price per pound of a grocery store birdseed mix but aren't eaten by the birds in the east and will be tossed aside.

At Wild Birds Unlimited you will get the very freshest seed, blended regionally for your backyard birds, with no filler grains. This should limit the scattering problem. And we also have feeders that also deter seed flicking. The Hopper and Fly-thru feeders are the easiest for the birds to flick seeds from. The tube feeders are the hardest for them to toss seed around. I have the Squirrel Buster Plus. It keeps the squirrels off and limits seed scatter. Wild Birds Unlimited also has the Quick Clean Big Tube with feeding ports that have a special non-scatter bar.

We also have the Wild Birds Unlimited Dinner Bell™ with a Seed Cylinder. This is our most popular no muss, no fuss feeder. It also has a lifetime guarantee like like the Squirrel Buster Plus and the Quick Clean Big Tube. And depending on bird activity in your yard, a 2lb cylinder can last up to a month and a 4.5lb cylinder can last up to 3 months. The seed is held together with gelatin and there is no seed spray from these cylinders. The whole block is completely edible.

But sometimes it's fun to watch the birds pick through the seeds like kids opening their presents on Christmas morning. And I have a lot of Dark-eyed Juncos and Mourning Doves that will "Hoover" the ground for me.

Related Articles:
Innovative Birdfeeder Design: Quick Clean Big Tube
The Best Squirrel-proof Feeder
The Great Seed Cylinder Feeder


Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

I don't mind a bit of seed disbursing. It helps the ground feeders. Much, though encourages mice and I don't particularly like that. The gelatin is an interesting idea that I will look into. Thanks for all the advice.

J.R. Stevens said...

What do you use the gelatin for and how do you use it?