Is Safflower Seed for the Birds?

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We gave our daughter and son-in-law a birdfeeder for their wedding anniversary. They were delighted. We filled it with black oil sunflower seeds and hung it on their backyard fence. It didn’t take long for the local House Finches to discover the new food source. My daughter enjoyed watching the pretty red birds gather around the feeder, politely taking turns at the narrow tray.

Then, a few weeks later, a huge flock of red-winged blackbirds realized dinner was available in my daughter’s backyard. They seemed to know every time she filled the feeder. As they jostled for position, they displaced the more subdued finches. Within minutes, the feeder was empty. Clearly, something would have to be done. Continue reading “Is Safflower Seed for the Birds?”

Outfoxing Fox Squirrels

fox-squirrel_blkforest_20100424_lah_3624If you feed them, they will come. Anyone who puts sunflower seeds into a birdfeeder sooner or later has to contend with squirrels. And if you grow a garden—well, squirrels like many of the same foods we do, plus flowers, tulip bulbs, and numerous other plants. The question isn’t whether or not you’ll have squirrels in your yard. You will. The question is, what are you going to do about them?

I used to really like squirrels. After all, they’re cute, with bright black eyes and fluffy tails. And they’re fun to watch as they chase one another up one tree and down the next. That was before I started feeding the birds. Within hours of hanging my first feeder, the squirrels had discovered it. (It took the birds two weeks.)

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Book Review: Outwitting Squirrels

Outwitting-Squirrels-193x300Anyone who puts out food for wild birds quickly learns that the squirrel food alert network is very efficient. Within hours, often before the birds find your new feeders, the squirrels are on site, shoveling sunflower seeds into their mouths as fast as they can. That’s pretty fast.

Some people actually like squirrels. That’s fine with me. If they want to feed expensive seeds and nuts to squirrels, let them go right ahead. Of course, their largess will encourage the production of more squirrels….

On the other hand, most bird feeders want to feed birds, not rodents. Banging on the window and waving your arms may alarm the neighbors, but it won’t faze the squirrels for long. So what’s a frustrated bird lover to do?

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