Research has shown that songbirds need calcium during the breeding season for egg laying and nestling growth. Paint manufacturers have used calcium carbonate, or limestone, as an extender pigment in paint for hundreds of years.
Some songbirds in search of calcium may have started to look in unusual places, unfortunately, because pollution has depleted it in the environment.
To stop birds from pecking off paint you can offer them alternative sources of calcium. It was discovered through trial and error that birds love eggshells, over paint. Eggshells are about 95% calcium carbonate.
When you put eggshells on the menu you may even attract species that don’t usually come to seed feeders, like orioles, gnatcatchers, and some species of wood warblers. My squirrels also like eggshells.
And for gardeners, eggshells around the base of plants deter snails and slugs from crossing the sharp eggshells barrier to reach your plants. It also boosts the nutrients in the soil and can be mixed together with dried coffee grounds, which provides a high content of nitrogen, to keep your plants healthy.
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/z7Eurx
- What can I feed the cardinals to make them redder? http://bit.ly/vn2HK3
- Feeding the birds will not make them "lazy," or "dependent." http://goo.gl/gCXCf
- Choosing the best bird seed http://goo.gl/jrpDX
- What seeds do wild birds eat? http://bit.ly/wKyQNB
- How can birds survive this cold weather? http://bit.ly/xbkaPP
- Johnson, Anne Marie, What Are Those Jays Eating? Birdscope, newsletter of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Summer 2001. www.birds.cornell.edu
- Chu, Miyoko and Stefan Hames. Wood Thrush Declines Linked to Acid Rain. Birdscope, newsletter of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Autumn 2002. www.birds.cornell.edu