Christmas Dinner for the Birds

white-breasted-nuthatch_lavetaco_20100320_lah_0134As we gather to give gifts to one another, it’s only natural for birders to offer special treats for the birds. There are lots of options.

The best all-around feeder-filler is black oil sunflower seed. It’s high in energy and easy for small beaks to crack open. It’s enthusiastically consumed by chickadees, finches, nuthatches (such as this White-breasted Nuthatch at right), jays, grosbeaks, blackbirds, and many more species. Plus, these seeds are readily available at a reasonable price.

pine-siskin_blkforest_20100424_lah_3335More expensive, but especially attractive to Pine Siskins, is Nyjer seed. These tiny black seeds (also called thistle) are imported from Africa. You’ll need a special feeder with smaller holes, or a fabric “sock” sold for the purpose. One advantage is that the seed is treated to prevent sprouting—you’ll have no Nyjer weeds to pull in the spring.

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