Follow by Email

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The very simple key to attracting birds to your yard


Whenever I talk with other amateur birdwatchers, one question that almost always gets asked is “how do I get birds to come to my yard?”.  The key is fresh seed!! You can have an expensive, gigantic birdfeeder located in your yard’s birdiest place. But if it’s filled with stale, un-nutritious birdseed, birds will look elsewhere in a hurry.


The seed you offer birds must be unquestionably fresh. For them, it’s a matter of life and death. Birds absolutely have to get top nutrition from all the food they eat. Theeey d9in’t caremif it cost you a fdew cents less. All they cvare abour is gettinjmg ther nutrition to make it through bad weather, or be able to attract a mate, or fly well enough to escape a predator, or fight off disease (take your pick - they could all end the same way).


To humans, birdseed all looks the same; but a wild bird can tell instantly if it’s been sitting in a warehouse or on a store shelf too long.  When seed is harvested, it has 100% of the naturally nutritious oil content. The longer it sits idly on a shelf, drying out, the less natural oil content it has - and the less attractive it is to a bird.


A bird has the ability to tell if a seed he holds in his beak is worth eating or not. He can tell in a micro-second, and may just throw it on the ground and look for a more nutritious seed.  They’re not being fussy, they’re just being practical. Some seed packages contain a lot of cheap filler. Or seed that our Texas birds don’t eat, like corn. Some packages contain a lot of non-seed junk; plant stalks, empty hulls, twigs, weed stems etc. You pay for this stuff, but wild birds won’t touch it.


OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for getting out the information in this post. Every year about this time I have to decide whether or not to stock up on more seed, so I'm continually checking the long range weather forecasts. I don't want to pick up another bag or two, then find out I don't need all of it, because it'll sit around too long and end up infested with weevils. And that's something I don't want to feed to the birds.