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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Take a closer look at your bird seed blend

You probably get this question all the time, but where are all the birds. I have no birds at the feeder. - Okemos, MI

If you use fresh seed there should be lots of hungry birds feasting at your feeders. But when every meal counts, birds can't waste their time on filler seeds or stale food that isn't full of fat and protein.

It's estimated that only about 20% of a backyard bird's daily energy intake comes from feeders and because we haven’t had a lot of snowfall in Michigan, there still might be a lot of natural food sources available.

Here is a checklist of to help you attract more birds:

1. Make sure your seed is fresh. One way to do this crush your seed with a spoon on a piece of white paper and see if any oil comes out. On cold days where every meal counts, if your seed has dried out your feeder will be skipped. (Wild Birds Unlimited receives a fresh load of seed each week).

2. Take a closer look at your bird seed blend. All our blends are made of the stuff birds like to eat! We learned long ago the better the blend, the better your bird watching! Bargain bird seed may have inexpensive seeds like milo and wheat mixed in to bulk up the bag. However, in most regions these seeds are not eaten by bird feeder birds and is left to sprout or rot on the ground. We also stock all the non-blended bird seeds like WBU Premium Oil Sunflower, sunflower chips, safflower, Nyjer® (thistle), peanuts, and ear corn.

3. Make sure there is no mold in the bottom of your feeder. This can be dangerous to the birds and they will avoid your feeder again. To prevent mold in bad weather use Feeder Fresh™ (a silica grit that absorbs water and humidity, is safe for birds, and made from non-toxic absorbent sand). You can also shelter your feeder from the elements by using something like WBU Weather Guard.

4. Look for predators. Hawks or cats can deter birds from feeding in your area.

5. Check with local birding groups. Call your local Audubon or go in to a Wild Birds Unlimited to see if you are the only one reporting fewer birds.

You'll probably notice that the bird activity was very high at the feeders before the last storm and I think more birds will visit when the snow begins to fly.
Related articles:
- 2014-2015 Winter Finch Forecast: http://goo.gl/orI7dK
- Feeder Fresh: Prevent your seed from becoming moldy http://bit.ly/vLY9jU
- Will the hawk eat all my birds? http://bit.ly/v3XkTF
- Millions of Birds Die Each Year at the Hands of Mr. Puddy Tat http://bit.ly/tG9cXO
- Can birds predict the weather? http://bit.ly/txkFqX