June 24, 2013 | Kelly Barany, Chin Ridge Seeds
Love the birds but don’t love the mess that goes with them? Many backyard bird feeders stop feeding birds over the summer, choosing to focus instead on the perfect lawn and garden. However, there is a way to have your perfect lawn and your backyard birds too, if you make the correct bird food choices.
It all starts with selecting the right bird food. It is important to select seeds and nuts that have no shells and that won’t sprout under your feeder. I give a "no mess" rating to ingredients like chopped sunflower kernels (also known as sunflower chips) and chopped nuts. Birds love sunflower seeds and when you remove the shells and chop up the seeds, you eliminate mess and sprouting under the feeder.
Skinless peanuts and chopped nuts are also bird favorites and have a low mess factor when fed through a peanut feeder. The chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers all really enjoy nuts.
Just a plug here for our Mother Nature's No Mess Gardener's blend (available at UFA, Buckerfields and other retailers): This blend contains chopped sunflower kernels, peanuts and tree nuts. The birds love these ingredients so there should be very little waste associated with this mix. It also has no shells to make a mess under the feeder and no seeds that will germinate in your lawn.
Finally, as an alternative or an addition to the above, you may want to consider feeding a "no melt" suet in the summer time. Suet is a beef kidney fat bird product and no melt suets are guaranteed not to melt when summer temperatures soar. Suet is popular with many birds and there are no shells or seeds that will fall to the ground from a suet feeder.
Birds can be messy it seems, choosing at times to toss the seed out of the feeder only to eat it on the ground later. You can avoid these issues by adding a seed catching tray under your feeder.
There is something peaceful about sitting in the garden and watching the birds at the feeder. Bird feeding brings tranquility to my backyard and makes backyard gardening that much more enjoyable.