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.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Household scraps for birds in the garden

I live in Thailand, Hua Hin, about 230 km south of Bangkok. We have a number of birds that visit our garden, sparrows, collared and zebra doves, mynahs, hoopoe and many that I have not discovered the names of yet. Bird seed mixes are not readily available here but we put out bananas and fruit also peanuts and pumpkin seeds when available, the sparrows also raid the dogs food bowls. Do you have any suggestions as to what else I might try? Regards, James

Along with this Oriental White-eye, Wikipedia lists 982 wild bird species in Thailand:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_birds_of_Thailand
Water is one of the easiest ways to attract a large variety of birds to your garden. A bowl, no deeper than two inches, with a good perch or a rock in the middle will help a lot of birds. Then look at your landscape. Local birds will come to gardens that provide shelter and natural foods like fruit, nuts, berries, seeds, and bugs.

Zebra Dove
If you are looking to supplement your local birds' diet so you can watch them up close there are a many foods you can try. The better bird food mixes contain plenty of oil sunflower for the majority of seed eating birds. Peanuts pieces are rich in fat and attract a lot of bug eating birds. Nyjer, a small, black seed with a high oil content is a particular favorite with finches.

Millet and Cracked Corn, attracts sparrows, buntings, doves and blackbirds. Oatmeal, Wheat and barley grains are often included in seed mixtures, but they are really only suitable for larger ground feeding birds like pigeons, chickens and pheasants.

Lard and beef suet can help the bug eating birds too. At Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing, Michigan we sell high quality suet cakes. Or I have a recipe on how to render your own suet HERE.

Fresh coconut in the shell that has any residues of the sweet coconut water rinsed from the middle of the coconut to prevent the build-up of black mildew can be hung. Dried coconut isn’t good for the birds.

Common Mynah
Apples, pears and other fruit, including bruised and part rotten ones, cut up, are very popular with many birds. 

Some breakfast cereals are acceptable birdfood treats, although you need to be careful only to put out small quantities at a time. Dry cereal is best offered only occasionally.

Bread also has a relatively low nutritional value but isn't harmful to birds if it is offered in small quantities.

If food turns moldy or stale on your birdtable, you are probably placing out too much for the birds to eat in one day. Always remove any stale or moldy food promptly before bacteria can grow and can cause food poisoning.

You can read more at: Share Nature's Bounty http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2009/10/share-natures-bounty.html

Related Articles:
- Common winter birds in Michigan and their food preference: http://goo.gl/rmDuFd
- How to choose the best suet cake http://bit.ly/xATYPQ
- How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/qizlNh
- Why do Birds Scatter Seeds from Feeders? http://bit.ly/vZ6gzM
- Choosing a seed blend to feed wild birds http://goo.gl/Jklg9E

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