Friday, September 2, 2011

A Bird's DIY Feeder

The birds planted their own bird feeder this year. 

At the beginning of August I mentioned that a sunflower had sprouted up from the debris left under the feeder by the birds.  That sunflower is now being harvested by the chickadees that frequent my yard. 
Quite frankly I am over the moon pleased at how it all worked out because just as I ran out of my supply of black-oil sunflower seed the volunteer was ready with some homegrown!  I still haven't yet made it to the store to buy more seed, but as long as the sunflower holds out I am not going to.
The largest head on the plant is already half eaten.
This sunflower has really got me thinking though.  Perhaps I could produce my own bird seed.... 

I have pondered the environmental impact of feeding the birds for a couple of reasons.  #1 It is feeding wildlife, something normally frowned upon as it habituates animals to humans and reduces their natural foraging abilities.  #2 I do not buy organic bird seed which means I am still supporting chemically intensive agriculture, albeit not much compared to say, how much grain I eat, but still supporting it.  I've considered halting the feeding practice....but, oh how I love to watch them and be near to them!  Sometimes I think I could watch chickadees crack sunflower seeds all day long!  They hold it in their little feet and hammer away at it until the little sliver of seed is exposed.  It is like a tiny miracle every time.
They just started eating off this smaller head.
Has it come through clearly in my blog just exactly what a bird-lover I am?  Maybe it has....  Just in case it hasn't well, birds make me swoon.  I am just barely kidding.  They fill me up with joy.  On that note I am not kidding at all.  I feel part of my spirit must have once been a bird.  Watching a bird is enough to chase any blues I might have away, at least for the moment.  I am a nutty about birds.  Hence, thinking of losing the close contact with my bird friends at the feeder make me a little heart-broken...which is probably why I still feed them despite my ecological reservations.

But, maybe if I planted a load of sunflowers (maybe along the other fence where my landlord presently just has a pile of junk) I could produce my own local, pesticide-free seed that I could feel better about.  Plus, a bird working it out of the flower has to be a more natural foraging behavior than scooping it out of the bird feeder tray.   I wonder if you could dry the whole head for later in the season....  Looks like I have some research to do!


  1. Yes, I knew you loved birds. Yes, you should plant sunflowers. Yes, you can take the head to dry and save for later. Tie a large bag over the whole head. Then, when you bring it in, you can shake and knock the seeds off. Research may give you other ideas. You could get enough sunflower seeds that you could dry them for people snacks. I do think that the birds foraging sunflower heads is very natural. They might plant even more where they fly and land, not just at your place. Good luck.

  2. I've always had what seems a direct connection to Red-Tailed Hawks. there always seems to be one near me; soaring above me as if it's watching over me. Perhaps they are my Spirit Guide. Enjoy your birdies!

  3. How funny. Must be a very full bird. Just wanted to mention in regard to your unripe tomatoes in your last post - we found when we picked ours and ripened them on the windowsill they actually ripened rather than just staying green.

  4. I left a comment on this post and the one before. I wonder what happened to them.

  5. Parsimony - Thanks for the encouragement and advice. I am most certainly going to give this a try. I might even get a chance to try it this year as my community garden has loads of them used as a divider between the community part and the individual plots. I am going to email the garden coordinator to see if he has any plans for them.

    Homemaker - We're hoping maybe the cold spell was just a fluke and not a sign of an early winter so the green ones can ripen on the vine, but it is nice to know that all would not be lost regardless.

    Parsimony - : ) I don't have the internet at home so it was just a matter of me being away on a long weekend! But, it wouldn't be the first time blogger goofed!

    Becky - That is very interesting to me. Red Tails would be grand Spirit Guides. They are so strong, and powerful as all raptors are, but with a touch of the sun, a touch of glorious beauty in that red tail.

  6. That's an excellent thought. I think I'll plant some sunflowers next year and do exactly what you said here.

  7. I planted mugwort along one of my fences and the birds love it. The plants get very tall (5-7') and form a nice friendly summertime privacy screen between my yard and the neighbor's. Once it reaches about 3' the birds start using it and they'll hunt bugs all summer and then in the fall and throughout the winter they eat the seeds. Finches especially but I see chickadees too. Caveat- mugwort can be invasive. It's not so bad in our climate, and with the birds eating up loads of the seeds, but I still find volunteers in random places throughout the yard. (my elderly neighbor hasn't said anything, so either she hasn't noticed, or her lawn people have kept it mowed into submission)

    The little birds also love to eat the seeds out of Bachelor Buttons. I didn't get any planted this year, but most years I do and it is amazing how brash those birds will be in order to have a flower seed snack, lol!


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!