A PSA from Edmonton’s local & independent birding experts for over 30 years (that’s us, The Wildbird General Store, on the Southside!):
A new Edmonton bylaw aims to prevent attracting coyotes & creating accumulation that becomes a nuisance. Filling your feeders with top quality seed keeps the sparrows from kicking out the stuff they don’t like, preventing build-up underneath your feeders that attracts vermin.
1. Black oil sunflower seeds, out of the shell, aka kernels, are the most nutritious option and are enjoyed by all the little birds. In shell black oil makes a bit of shell mess & some birds have trouble opening the shells, but it is a better option in open feeders (our top recommendations are tube feeders that are more weather proof, keep out big birds & are easy to clean).
2. Nutrasaff is a bitter varietal of safflower, rejected by squirrels, and largely by sparrows as well. Enjoyed by chickadees, nuthatches, & house finches. (Sorry, currently unavailable from our supplier. ETA is unknown, we may not see any until this year’s harvest.)
3. Hulled millet (will not germinate into a carpet under your feeder), sparrows love this stuff, allowing you to diversify your feeders better.
4. Peanuts in shell are enjoyed by the corvids (blue jays and magpies alike), and of course squirrels. We have always promoted roasted peanuts when in shell to extend shelf life, inhibit toxic mold growth, and for improved nutrition. Unfortunately, we are without a supplier for roasted peanuts at this time…. we recommend roasting raw in-shell peanuts for 15min at 350F in your oven on a cookie sheet.
5. Suet (especially with added protein in the form of bugs!), is great for chickadees, nuthatches & woodpeckers. (Tail support is a must for the prehistoric looking pileateds!)A word about seed catchers: When people ask us about these to control the frustrating mess under their feeders, we ask them what they’re using as seed. Inexpensive “Wild Bird Mixes” purchased at big box stores are mostly filler seed (millet, milo, corn, wheat) that the sparrows kick out looking for something better. It’s a waste of your money! Do everyone (and especially the birds) a favour & get the good stuff, you’ll likely realize you don’t need to spend money on a seed catcher. (This advice comes with a caveat about pine siskin eruptions, those guys are messy, especially when you have 100s at a time! Give them fine chip kernels as they have a tendency to bite & spit. Really!)
Sure, we sell Junco mix, a blend going back to Jack’s day that includes regular millet. But it’s meant for just that, Juncos, which are ground feeding birds. A daily small amount that is not allowed to build up should not be attracting vermin. If it does, you may want to let the Juncos forage.
Scratch for the bunnies is a bit more tricky. If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of missing cat posters, chances are there are coyotes in the area. We recommend not letting cats, small dogs, and little children wander unattended, and keeping your garbage managed. That includes whatever is laying on your yard getting mouldy (do not put it back in your feeder!)
Let us know if you’d like to upgrade to a tidier solution! See our full list with prices: HERE