The following note is from my friend Heidi Kost-Gross in Wellesley. Heidi reports many of the same species of songbirds flocking to her feeders as we attract further east on Cape Ann. She also sent information about the bee colony collaspe disorder (more re in upcoming post).
Hi Kim, Many thanks for the beautiful Cardinal pics. I, too, have a couple at my feeders. Wonderful companions. I also have three Blue Jays coming in the middle of the day scaring off the little birds but not the squirrels. What’s up with the Jays? Are they also mating for life? Yesterday counted 24 Juncos around three feeders having a fine time. Chicadees are ever-present and so are Titmice and Doves … counted 7 of them yesterday. House Finches and Gold Finches are steady customers as well. Seemed that Friday was feeding day all around. What do you feed your birds. We feed both sunflower seeds and kernels, as well as thistle seeds. Hugs and thanks for all; and all the best wishes for 2011. May we all stay well. Heidi
For squirrel-proof bird feeding, we feed the songbirds only Nyjer seed and safflower seed.
We fill the platform-type feeder only with safflower seeds because it has been my experience, as well as friends who I have recomended this to, that squirrels do not like safflower seeds. I would rather provide the songbirds with a more varied selection, but every time I try to sneak black oil sunflower seeds into the mix, the squirrels detect it within a day or two. I imagine the birds find different types of seeds at neighboring feeders and, of course, from wild berries and seeds.
The Nyjer seed only goes in the Nyjer seed feeder, which has tiny ports that the squirrels cannot access. Nyjer seed is the small black seed that resembles grains of wild rice, and is often called thistle seed. Nyjer is rich in protein, with a high fat content, and is highly desirable not only to the American Goldfinch and Purple Finch, but to Black-capped Chicadee, Pine Siskin, Dark-eyed Junco, Song Sparrow, Mourning Dove, and Eastern Towhee. Nyjer seed is the the seed of the nyjer plant (Guizotia abyssinica) native to the highlands of Ethiopia. Purportedly, there is no need to worry about it spreading noxiously as the seed sold as bird seed in this country is now heated to prevent germination.
Thank you Heidi for all that you do, for NELDHA especially!