Saturday, February 2, 2008

Winter Bird Seed Mix #1

Somebody e-mailed me and asked me if I feed the birds (at home.....vs.....feeding hunted, wild birds, which is against Federal law!). The answer is yes, sometimes. Our yard, and our nearby creekbed and park, provide lots of natural birdfood from about May to November. I start to supplement with seed around that time, and continue until I see songbirds nesting in the spring.

Winter seed mixes are special - they need to contain:
  • High fat
  • High protein
  • Fast carbs
  • Thin seed hulls/shells (thick hulls cause the bird to spend more energy cracking open the seed, than they'll get from eating the seed)

So here's what I've been using for the last two years:

  • 70% black oil sunflower seed
  • 10% striped sunflower seed
  • 10% golden millet
  • 5% safflower
  • 5% peanuts

The mix isn't rocket science, or overly complicated, or expensive. Here's what we get with it:

  • Juncos (many)
  • Cardinals (many)
  • Gray nuthatch (many)
  • House sparrows (many, hooray)
  • Doves (many - product of the urban environment)
  • Song sparrows (some)
  • House finch (some)
  • Titmice (some)
  • Downy woodpeckers (many)
  • Red-belled woodpeckers (few)
  • Goldfinch (few - I think others are feeding them nyjer this winter and they didn't migrate south).

Also, we had our first winter flyover (about 10' off the ground) of our neighborhood male Coopers Hawk. He was looking fat and happy, and just looking for a dove or mouse to munch on. I have pictures of him (mid-meal) from the last few years. He usually locates the feeder around mid-December (he's late this year), and hangs around for a few weeks before moving on. Doves are his favorite. Last year he was sharing space with a lone sharp-shin hawk. Haven't seen him/her this year.

So there you have it! If I change the mix, I will let y'all know the recipe and results.

3 comments:

vanckirby said...

hello, love the blog! do you mind if i add it to the links on my duck hunting blog. trying to build a community of duck hunting bloggers. thanks, van

Swamp Thing said...

Absolutely; go for it. Glad you stopped by; looks like you guys had some nice shooting this season!

vanckirby said...

we did alright. some years have been better some worse. one thing ive noticed through the magical world of blogging is that florida duck hunting is a completely different animal than up north or out west.

ill put the link up now. thanks and check in from time to time. van