About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited 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.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to Get Rid of Uninvited Guests

Chickadees eat safflower.
Me, I’d love to feed the whole world. But I know that some people have trouble with uninvited guests like hawks, squirrels, House Sparrows, starlings and blackbirds at the bird feeders.

If you switch over to straight safflower seed you will decrease the activity of all those guests except hawks. Safflower is a small white seed about the size of oil sunflower that is savored by Cardinals, House Finches, Black-capped Chickadees, and more. Blackbirds, starlings, squirrels, and sparrows avoid safflower. When you start feeding safflower there will be a dramatic drop in the number of birds at the feeder but then different birds will appear gradually.

It’s also important to buy suet without seed in it because that's what the sparrows like. Our Wild Birds Unlimited Peanut Butter Suet contains just suet and peanuts no seed or we have the straight beef suet that the just the chickadees, woodpeckers, and nuthatches like. And the Hot Pepper Suet repels all mammals including squirrels.

Goldfinches can eat Nyjer bottoms up.
Most squirrels, House Sparrows, hawks, starlings and blackbirds also leave the finch feeders alone when you feed straight Nyjer thistle. If they still are a problem you can use an upside down finch feeder. Goldfinches can eat upside down comfortably. The feeding port is below the perch and the goldfinches have to hang by their toes to reach the seed.

If you’re still overrun with flocks of sparrows and starlings, hawks may actually help you take care of a few of those unwanted guests. Unfortunately they may also tote off a couple of the birds you like.

To deter hawks, place your feeders where there is ample natural protection. Evergreen shrubs and trees can provide an easy escape for the birds. Federal and state laws prohibit the capture, killing, or possession of hawks and owls. So keep in mind that hawks may eat a few sparrows and squirrels but only tend to settle in at feeders for two or three weeks and then they are off again to different territory. Ultimately, the only thing you can do when a hawk comes to dinner is wait it out.

If you want to attract the widest variety of birds Wild Birds Unlimited has several other blends that are formulated to attract the birds that live in our area. We do not include cheap filler grains like oats, wheat and milo that decrease the price per pound of a mix and aren't eaten by the birds in Michigan. Wild Birds Unlimited blends actually end up costing less to use while attracting more of the birds that you want to watch.

The only blend I use is Wild Birds Unlimited's unique No-Mess Blend which features seeds that have had their shells removed so only the meat of the seed is left. No hulls on the seeds means no hulls on the ground and the seed won’t sprout either.

Pound for pound, our No-Mess Blend offers the best value because you do not pay for the shells. The birds eat everything. One 20# bag of No-Mess contains at least twice as much seed as a bag with shells.

Whichever seed you choose to use, you'll know Wild Birds Unlimited always has fresh bird food full of the high fat and protein the birds need right now. Seed comes in every Tuesday. If you come early enough you can watch me load tons of seed into the store. And if you want to buy bags of seed right off the pallets, you are very welcome.
Related Articles:
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/nImz5g 
- How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/qizlNh  
- How to Prepare Your Yard for Winter Birdwatching http://bit.ly/q93Men 
- What is the best bird feeder? http://bit.ly/qVr7i8 
- Best food for birds in the winter http://goo.gl/WXXcp

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