Thursday, January 29, 2015

Your birdfeeding buck

Gardeners are often enthusiastic birders and vice versa, each having a vested interest in the interest of the other. Now, in the off-season, we're more tuned in to birds than ever.

Your birdfeeding buck

Gardeners are often enthusiastic birders and vice versa, each having a vested interest in the interest of the other. Now, in the off-season, we're more tuned in to birds than ever.

Which is why I didn't hesitate to open an email the other day from George Fore, owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store in Cherry Hill. He mentions that bird seed prices have gone up lately and had some suggestions for things we can do to economize without scrimping.

Instead of straight bird seed, he says, try suet, seed cylinders, meal worms and different flavors of Bark Butter. Together, they appeal to more birds than seed by itself does. And they usually cost less.

If you use a seed mix now, George suggests switching to plain black oil sunflower seed.  It's the main ingedient in premium blends, generally costs less, and most birds will readily eat it.

Buy on sale.

Try specialty feeders that use smaller amounts of seed and minimize the amount of food pigeons and other big (bad) birdies can get to.

And don't just grab cheapie blends. Many have fillers (cereal grains, sorghum or Milo) that aren't even bird food. Cracked corn and millet, while less expensive, aren't really liked by desirable songbirds.

So there you have it. Thanks, George!

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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