Friday, January 2, 2009

Making Organic Wild Bird Seed Mix

You serve your family mainly organic foods, you compost your kitchen waste, you even own two pieces of clothing made from organic cotton, but would you consider feeding the wild birds in your yard organic bird feed? There's no reason not to!

A bird feeder outside your window is a joyful addition to any home. Even those who can't have pets due to allergies or leasing agreements can enjoy caring for fellow creatures. Bird identification and the building or purchasing of a bird feeder is a fun and educational event for families or simply for the solo wildlife enthusiast. You can visit your local library for books with plans on constructing feeders, often out of recycled materials. Even if you live in a high-rise apartment building, you can buy a window feeder.

It is important to consider the responsibility of setting up a feeding station as the birds will become dependent on you; if you don't feel like going outside on grey or rainy days you would be doing them a disservice. When you first start putting seed out for the birds, you will probably only get a few visitors, then they will come back, and bring along their friends. Cheep, cheep!

Different species of birds seek different foods. You will have periods when a certain type of bird is very prevalent, depending on migration patterns. Remember that as soon as your birds have run out of natural feed, they will leave unless you provide them with a good reason to stick around. Whether you live in the city or the country, one way to be sure of year round birds is to feed them year around. There is no more wonderful sight in late spring and summer than to watch a mother bird bring her young to your feeder.

Remember: Never place food where cats can easily ambush birds; put feeders up high, and away from trees and fences that can be climbed by kitties.

Admittedly, the easiest thing to do is to pick up the pre-mixed, non-organic wild bird food from the supermarket. But, here are some facts to consider:

  • It is estimated that of the roughly 672 million birds exposed annually to pesticides on U.S. agricultural lands, 10% or 67 million die from pesticide exposure
  • The bird that visited your neighbor has most likely been exposed to poisonous pesticides. Over time these agents will take their toll on a bird's immune and reproductive systems
  • Most commercial wild bird food contains cracked corn, and unless the corn is certified organic, it has probably been genetically engineered
  • By purchasing commercial bird feed, your dollars are supporting the pesticide application of the acreage where these seeds were grown, effecting the farm workers, wildlife and ground water in that area

Making your own organic bird feed is easy and inexpensive. You can purchase organic seeds at Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Co-op from the Bulk Dept. Most birds will eat any seeds, but here are the seeds that certain birds prefer:

Black oil sunflower seeds are eaten by Cardinals, American Goldfinch, House Finch, Juncos, Mourning Doves, Nuthatches, Grosbeaks, Tufted Titmice, Chickadees, and Sparrows.

Safflower seeds are enjoyed by Cardinals, Morning Doves, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Chickadees, and Sparrows.

Millet is enjoyed by Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Juncos, and Sparrows.

Cracked corn is enjoyed by Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Juncos, and Sparrows.

You can prepare a mix based on the type of bird you wish to attract. Birds also benefit from organic fruit, such as apples or oranges sliced in half, organic raisins and unsalted nut pieces.

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