Thursday, April 2, 2009

No Fooling, an April Poll

It's fascinating to see that not only is all birdseed not the same, but different bird species have very strong preferences for what types of seed they prefer. I've discovered several bird preferences by observing my very mixed and very hungry flock...

  • Pine siskins and lesser goldfinches prefer almost exclusively nyger seed, most frequently from sock feeders or ground feeding.

  • American goldfinches prefer nyger seed but will also indulge in black oil sunflower seeds. They will feed from mesh socks, tube feeders, or platforms, as well as spilled seed.

  • House finches prefer black oil sunflower seeds and eat from the hopper feeder and spilled seed. They do try to balance on the tube feeders, but the size isn't quite right for their comfort.

  • House sparrows are more likely to take millet but will also eat black oil sunflower seeds. Platform feeders are their favored buffet line.

  • Eurasian collared doves will eat milo, millet, and black oil sunflower seeds; it just seems to depend on what is readily available on the ground for them, and they swallow it without removing the shell.

  • Mourning doves prefer millet but will also swallow black oil sunflower seeds.

  • Dark eyed juncos are exclusively millet diners, perferably on the ground but also on open platform feeders.

  • American robins don't care for seed but enjoy the bread scraps on the ground.

  • Mallards will gorge on black oil sunflower seeds and millet from beneath feeders or on the ground. That they will also sample treats from low platform feeders seems to be quite the eccentricity from my neighborhood ducks.

  • Cassin's finches prefer black oil sunflower seed but will also taste nyger in hopper and platform feeders.

Seeing such varied dining preferences reinforces the idea that a backyard will be filled with richer bird life if we offer a range of unique foods and different ways for the birds to eat. That, then, is the crux of this month's poll -- what bird foods do you offer in your backyard? Cast your votes!

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