While some folks really despise them, others quite enjoy feeding squirrels, watching their amazing acrobatic ability and silly antics. As long as bird feeders are set up properly with baffles to ward off squirrels-it’s really no problem at all.
There are some great squirrel feeders out there, some peanut feeders that will even accommodate Blue Jays (another one considered a nuisance by some). This metal wreath whole peanut feeder does just that. With an innovative, fun design, it offers peanuts in the shell to Jays and squirrels alike.
If you’d rather watch a bit of a show, the Squngee is where it’s at! This bungee cord squirrel feeder hold two ears of corn (or corn logs) and squirrels have to work for the prize. It’s really a hoot to watch!
Squirrel can chow through those corn cobs pretty darn fast too, and it can get pricey keeping them fed. Check out your local feed store for bulk packaging of corn cobs. Here in Georgia, a 50-pound bag runs about thirteen bucks. Another great option is to use corn logs instead of actual corn cobs. These are compressed corn and one is equal to about 12 ears of corn. They’re available in sweet corn, or nut and corn flavor…and squirrels love them.
If you’re feeding loose corn on the ground, don’t be surprised if a few masked critters of the evening show up for their fair share too!
Goldfinches, Indigo Buntings, Purple Finches and others are a welcome addition to any yard or garden — these colorful birds will flock to a finch bird feeder if you are lucky, and chow down on thistle for long periods of time. Pecking one tiny seed at a time makes it easy to observe them.
This food has added benefits; squirrels ignore it, and it is not germinating which means that spilled food won’t turn into weeds. But what if you’re not lucky enough to have enough finches to eat all of the food on a regular basis? The thistle, or nyjer seed can clump when it gets damp, and the attraction for our feathered friends will quickly fade.
Here’s a trick to keep thistle bird feeders fresher longer: Place a few inexpensive ping pong balls inside your feeder. The thistle seed is very fine, so it flows around the ping pong balls and is available to the birds. The balls will take up space in the feeder, reducing the amount of food it holds, while allowing an even distribution for more feeding space. The result: less food in the feeder means less clumping and fresher food. You can add or remove balls until you get the right balance of food and space for your feeder and your habitat.
With their nesting season winding down, Goldfinches abound! Their electric yellow plumage is hard to miss. Adults feed babies thistle, or nyjer seed exclusively, so large capacity or extra thistle feeders are very helpful this time of year. Even those convenient thistle socks or bags, are an excellent way to accommodate all the newcomers.
Because of their sweet nature, Goldfinches will usually just give up and fly off rather than fight at crowded thistle feeders. A fresh water source such as a bird bath is also very enticing to all songbirds, and with moving water like the dripper shown here, birds will be flocking to your yard!
Remember to keep thistle feeders out year round to enjoy these vibrant summer colors. Goldfinches’ plumage will start to fade in the fall when they molt, but the same cheery birds will hang around your yard if offered thistle seed on a consistent basis.