So I know it's not quite spring yet, well it's not even close....but here, it sort of feels like it. Cold in the mornings, warm by the afternoon. I do love this kind of weather, but it gives you a false sense of hope, that spring is just around the corner. While I patiently wait for the chance to plant flowers, I think about my little birdy friends, that are looking a bit skinny and starved.
If you already know me, you know how much I birds. I have them all over the house, lots of kind, and tons of forms. We also have a couple birdhouses out back...but haven't had much luck with any of them camping out here. Though we did have a family of Wren's (how fitting), for a couple months last year.
When it comes to bird feeders we have two problems......
1. Squirrels.....Oh how I loath these cute furry creatures. They scare off the birds, attack the feeders, eat our pillows, and get into pretty much everything. I'd love to tell you we discovered some magical way to get rid of them, but they are persistent little rodents! They don't nest in our trees at least...they know better. The crazy bird lady will come out and wave stuff in the air at them.....and occasionally throw something (good thing for them, I'm a terrible shot). We have tried several types of bird feeders, that claim to keep out the squirrels, but if they are hungry, they will find a way.
At our last house, we had a group of trees, that we hung a bird feeder in the middle of, on a very long hook. It became an evening show watching these guys go from one side, to the other, stretching out, trying to reach it. But after they spent a couple weeks doing so, without any luck, they got us back by eating all of our hanging plants, and taking out the bird nest nearby. Those darn squirrels!
At this house, the trees are set up a little better for bird feeders, so they don't get to much. Mostly what falls on the ground. We also purchased some new feeders with weight bars, so they can't really get to the food anyways. Even the kids get in on the action, banging on the back door if they spot a squirrel, to scare it away.
Yes I know.....crazy bird lady!
2.Germination...My husband refused to get feeders a first, because he didn't want all sort of weeds and things growing underneath. I agreed, and remembered a simple trick my Grandmother and Aunt, used to do, to remedy this. It's as easy as baking the bird seed. It still retains all the nutrition for the birds, but won't sprout up underneath. We use "Wild Bird Food", purchased at Lowe's. It comes in a 17Lb bag. My theory here is, bake as much as you can in one shot, and store what you don't use. It's easier than going through the process every couple of weeks.
To start, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
I use two cookie sheets at a time. Fill them with a layer of seed, not super thick, but not thin enough to see the pan.
Pop it in the oven for 30 min. Your house will start to smell like toasted nuts as it cooks.
Pull the pans out and let them cool down before transferring the seed.
I store mine in a plastic container with a lockable lid. Lockable, is a must. Lets just say I've learned from experience! Birdseed will travel to EVERY nook and cranny of your garage, when you drop the bin on the floor....and you may be attracting some unwanted visitors here.
It doesn't get any more simple than that!
You save your yard, and feed our sweet feathered friends.
Now grab some seed, and get baking!