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.
|The largest head on the plant is already half eaten.|
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.|
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!