Feeding sunflower hearts or a no-waste mix greatly reduces ground mess below your bird feeders. Some home owners have backed off from feeding birds, as the ground waste may have attracted other, less desirable critters (especially if the house sat in close proximity to a wooded area). But there are lots of ways to still feed birds… without the mess!
The no-waste mixes and sunflower hearts & chips are a perfect choice for most types of wild bird feeders as a great variety of species enjoy these premium seeds. They may cost a little more, but it’s money well spent if you’d still like to see those beaked buddies in your yard, sans the ground mess. Anything that does fall to the ground will not be left for long, as ground feeding birds who eat seeds (like cardinals, doves, juncos, chipping sparrows, towhees) will snatch this premium meal up before it has time to sit.
Using a seed tray or seed catcher will also help to eliminate ground mess. The adjustable trays actually serve as an additional feeder with their large platform area. Today’s seed catchers need not attach directly to the bottom of the bird feeder either. Hanging trays offer several installation options, and larger platforms are made to fit on feeder poles or 4×4 posts below the feeder. Birds who’ve never used the feeder itself will utilize the platform for a meal of fallen seed.
Suet is another great way to feed birds sans any ground waste. It’s neat & clean, economical and easy to feed. Clinging birds like chickadees, nuthatches and titmice like it, and you can’t beat it for cold weather feeding! Packed with fat and protein, suet provides those extra calories for energy needed to stay warm. Standard suet cages are great, but a suet cage with tail prop will entice woodpeckers too. The extended panel below the cage gives them leverage to “prop” their tail and perch more comfortably. Guess it’s the difference between a metal folding chair and a Lazy-Boy!
Wild bird feeders come in a gazillion style colors! First step is to figure out what birds you’d like to attract. Specialty feeders exist for everyone… from hummingbirds and bluebirds, to Goldfinches and Orioles. Of course fresh water is always an excellent method to entice birds, and some form of birdbath (even a saucer) should always be considered in any bird-friendly habitat.