Monday, July 03, 2006

Birds Agree: Black Is Best

Birds, even wild ones, are very picky eaters. I have discovered that, within the seed mix I give the finches, red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, blue jays and mourning doves that come to my window, they have favorite seeds, second favorites and least favorites.

Black oil sunflower seeds are sheer manna. These go first, and quick. Their shells are scattered atop all the other uneaten seeds in the feeder.

Next goes the millet. Apparently, not so tasty as sunflower seeds, but the birds can choke it down.

Then there is the milo.

Milo seeds are the black jelly beans left at the bottom of the jar, or the Special Dark chocolates in the bag of Halloween candies that the parents end up eating or throwing away. Sometimes the kids will eat them, but only after all the other treats have been depleted.

My avian guests have to eat these, though. I don't refill the feeder until most of the previous batch of feed is gone. My feeder, my rules.

Since I have discovered that bags with only black seeds are available, I plan to buy those in the future. However, the birds will have to put up with almost 10 more pounds of the mix before they go black and (possibly) never go back.


Bird said...

Ah, the musical sounds of YES - that's a nice way to start my day.

And thanks for feeding my compadres.

Now I have that Mary Poppins song in my head - with the old woman outside the cathedral, selling bags of bird feed for a tuppence:

"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.
"Feed the birds," that's what she cries,
While overhead, her birds fill the skies.
All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares.
Although you can't see it, you know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares."

Now how did this happen - from Yes to Mary Poppins all in less than a second or two?

Pete Bogs said...

dunno - Yes' leader singer, Jon Anderson, is a bit Mary Poppins himself... not gay, just dainty...

Yes is Pete Bogs' #1 group, by the way...

and as for the birds, they never have to ask, "Please sir, can I have some more?"

(yeah, I know that Dickens, not Disney)

The Flabbergasted Heathen said...

You could start training the birds! You know, come up with some feeder that only dispences milo, unless they get all crafty, perform some kind of trick, then they get the millet. Then, if they manage to file your taxes, then get the black seeds...

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

got that right! BisB!

no birds like milo. and even if you get hulled sunflower they dont seem to like that as much as the black oil sunflower.....they want to work for it! woodpeckers love peanuts, millet is the favorite of ground feeders like doves. we spend a fortune in birdseed over here.

i think you should kick out the screen and make your entire porch a bird feeder!

hey, have a great independence day tomorrow! i mean, would you even sip an american beer just for show?


Pete Bogs said...

funny you ask about the beer, k9... I bought quite a selection the other day, including some domestic microbrews... one in particular might interest you - Stoudts Fat Dog Stout

CROAK said...

Funny you should say that about sunflower seeds, as the birds here ( mainly lorikeets and doves, galahs and rosellas) also prefer them.
The least popular are the corn. So below deck we have a little crop of mutai growing which I need to pull out.

Mary Poppins. Ah She saved my sanity as I was studying all those years ago. Kept my 3 year old at the time, occupied for hours. She learnt very quickly how to fast forward over the bits she didn't like and rewind to go over and over the bits she did.

liberalbanana said...

It's funny that the birds have preferences to what seeds they want to eat first - but I guess that makes sense... There's an egg in the dove basket on my balcony now but I think it's leftover from the last batch and is not alive. Mother Dove keeps sitting on it anyway... Maybe it is alive, who knows! Blah blah blah, I'm boring today.

Pete Bogs said...

croak - birds are apparently complex, diet-wize...

banana - maybe she is trying to hard-boil it? she may be a picky eater, too!