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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 1999
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    12,564

    Default These Finches are Eating Me out of House and Home

    And, I'm such a sucker that I just keep feeding them. I just put up a new feeder pole. The Goldfinches and the House Finches love the arrangement. This morning, I filled the two sunflower seed feeders. They hold 2.5 pounds of seed each. I just checked and both feeders are almost empty. I'm thinking of going back out and filling them again, for the evening birds, including the cardinals, who always come at dusk.

    That's a lot of seed to go through, not to mention the huge mess that it makes under the feeder. What does everybody else do, to cut down on costs and still keep the birds happy and healthy?
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 28, 2013
    Location
    Southeastern US
    Posts
    1,776

    Default

    Well, let's see.

    A politician would say to issue food stamps to all eligible finches. In other words, the ones living on less desirable tree limbs or with nests built using shoddy materials.

    A civil rights worker would reject the notion of food stamps because of the degrading nature and, instead want to start a project making sure all nests were well-built and all limbs were desirable. He might also want to be certain that birds of a feather didn't all flock together on the most desirable branches, purposely shutting out the poorer birds of a different feather.

    A pastor would preach to all the birds about making sure their neighbor had enough seed and share in God's bounty by not taking any more seed than they ought to.

    A communist would take all the seeds, give the bare minimum to each bird and keep the rest.

    A doctor would warn all the birds about some seeds being too high in cholesterol.

    (Can you get the cheaper seeds and wean them off the 'good stuff'?).
    Is chasing cattle considered playing with your food?.

    War veteran


    3 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    3,244

    Default

    Yeah, they'll do that.

    Right now i'm keeping a couple of hummingbirds in sugar water--way cheaper.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Gravity works, and the laws of physics are a bitch.

    Member: Rabid Garden Snail Clique



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2000
    Location
    Greenville, MI,
    Posts
    12,241

    Default

    I stopped all seed feeders this spring, I feed all fall and winter but this year I decided they needed to do bug and wild seed patrol.
    They get expensive.
    "you can only ride the drama llama so hard before it decides to spit in your face." ?Caffeinated.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 15, 2013
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    303

    Default

    Are they eating all the seeds, or could they be spraying them all over the ground?

    I find the birds at my place are super picky, and end up tossing half the seed away in their search for the "perfect one" that is good enough for them to eat. So I won't fill the feeder until they have cleaned up the stuff on the ground.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2008
    Posts
    2,906

    Default

    For nyjer seed, do the up-side down feeders for the goldfinches. That slows them down a bit. No help for the sunflower seed - I take a break during the summer now. I was feeding shelled sunflower seeds last year (expensive!) but I quit after a watching a grackle murder (and try to eat) a sparrow that flew up to "his" feeder. Wealth apparently brings out the psychotic asshole in birds, too.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
    Original Poster
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 1999
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    12,564

    Default

    Yes, the Goldfinches do pick over the seed and reject all but the most perfect ones. The rest end up on the ground. However, that keeps the mourning doves and the squirrels happy. And, something, probably a raccoon, is finishing the ground job at night. In the morning, all that is left are shells. The nyjer seed isn't such a problem. I'm thinking that I'm going to try converting one of the sunflower feeders to nyjer seed, to see if that will slow them down. I put whole corn down for the cardinals and the wild turkeys.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2000
    Location
    Greenville, MI,
    Posts
    12,241

    Default

    Just an FYI Gold Finches will also eat Black oil Sunflower, you can use it in a feeder that will also give access to the Cardinals, The black oil is there FAVE!
    "you can only ride the drama llama so hard before it decides to spit in your face." ?Caffeinated.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    3,244

    Default

    The skunks will be liking the spilled seed, too. Just as a point of trivia.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Gravity works, and the laws of physics are a bitch.

    Member: Rabid Garden Snail Clique


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Oct. 21, 1999
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    Rochester, NY
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    Default

    Yup, Sannois, that's what those feeders are filled with, Black Oil Sunflower seed. It's so popular, I have finch wars. Feisty little buggers.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    8,087

    Default

    We feed sunflower hearts and chips. Very expensive, but it keeps the finches from being picky. This year we cut the feeding out at the end of May to save on money. I am looking forward to starting up again in November.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

    http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2000
    Location
    Where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?
    Posts
    23,441

    Default

    My finches think the Depression era has started up again when I put nyjer seed in their feeder. And I can't stand the waste, so it is TSC sunflower hearts. Spoiled bastards. Never mind the domestic (owned) animals, even wild birds eat better than I do.
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
    Location
    Packing my bags
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    33,602

    Default

    sometime when the leaves popped out the birds didn't come anymore, so I stopped.

    They need to catch bugs to feed their young!
    I'll get back to it when it gets cold again...should that happen...
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
    Location
    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
    Posts
    7,116

    Default

    I am plagued with starlings, cow birds and red wing blackbirds who raid the feeders to the point the chickadees, finches, doves, tanagers, et al are driven away. I HATE starlings..grrrr....

    I only feed nyjer in the summer and feed a mix all winter. The feeders are in the front window so the cats have "bird TV" on during the day.

    I have no solution for you other than buy in bulk, and don't buy stuff with that big red seed that nothing eats.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Oct. 21, 1999
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    Rochester, NY
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    Yeh, I hear everyone. I suppose this was more of a whine than anything else. It's just painful going through a 50 lb bag of sunflower seeds every 10 days or so. I think I'm going to try sunflower hearts, or maybe peanut hearts, and see if that reduces the waste, and the mess, at least.

    And, sadly, though it's too late this year, I think that, next year, the feeders are going to go dry during the summer months. Maybe I'll just keep nyjer seeds out.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    10,662

    Default

    Too late this year, but how about planting your own sunflowers and using the seeds from them?
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



  17. #17
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Oct. 21, 1999
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    Rochester, NY
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    Default

    I only have an acre, kookicat. I did plant some, in my flower garden. The little skinks didn't even give the seeds time to ripen, before they were all over the heads of the flowers. So, while I would love to do that, it's not feasible.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2010
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    1,050

    Default

    Ah! A fellow bird person! I'm letting the birds do bug control this summer, with all the rain we've had.

    But yesterday while I was entertaining myself watchin MrBlueMoon fix the lawnmower, I saw a hummingbird trying to feed off my colorful windsock. So, I think I'll be visiting the hardware store for a hummingbird feeder this weekend.
    Alis volat propriis.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 29, 1999
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA USA
    Posts
    6,546

    Default

    I feed niger seed in a goldfinch feeder so only the upside-down birds can eat it.

    For the other feeders I buy the expensive Lyric shell-free mix and stretch it by adding sunflower chips (brings bluebirds) and safflower seeds. The safflower of course does have shells but they're so tiny they don't make a mess. The sparrows and starlings don't care for the safflower so when they get problematical I go heavier on that.

    Because the shell-free is so expensive and I have a problem with starlings I actually take the feeder down when I go to work. Not the niger feeder, that can stay up, but the suet and regular feeder. Otherwise I'd come home from work to find literally pounds of seed gone to the sparrows, starlings, and squirrels. Starlings are horrible around feeders as they don't share. Sometimes I can see 5 or 6 different species of birds all feeding at the same time except when the starlings come. They drive everything else away plus defecate all over the feeders.

    The birds quickly learned that when Anne comes home from work the feeder goes back up and by now all the chickadees, bluebirds, cardinals, blue jays, titmice, mourning doves, etc. are all waiting in the trees and begin feeding as soon as the feeder is hung.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    10,662

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise View Post
    I only have an acre, kookicat. I did plant some, in my flower garden. The little skinks didn't even give the seeds time to ripen, before they were all over the heads of the flowers. So, while I would love to do that, it's not feasible.
    I can't even get sunflowers to grow. The rabbits keen eating them as soon as they sprout, so I feel your pain.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



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