If you are like me, you enjoy feeding the birds and try to attract as many species as possible to your yard. Feeding our feathered friends can become quite expensive as you well know. Some weeks I think I spend more at the feed store than the grocery store. Quality bird seed will not only attract more birds but it will also save you money.
I like to buy seed that has high amounts of sunflower seeds and peanuts. I find these two ingredients attract the most birds. Many inexpensive bird seed mixes are made up mostly of fillers that birds do not like. Two of the most common fillers are milo and cracked corn. You may be thinking to yourself, “wait a minute, birds eat corn!” Yes they do but there is a difference between cracked and cut corn. Cut corn is exactly that, cut. Therefore you get several small pieces of corn that the birds, especially doves, love and is good in a seed mix. Cracked corn on the other hand results in mostly dust that is not edible.
Milo is the other big filler and not something birds prefer. They will eat it as a last resort but it should be avoided in seed mixes. Have you ever noticed that yellowy orange paste under your feeder after a rain or when the snow melts in the spring? That is all milo and dust from cracked corn that the birds have pushed off the feeder trying to get to “the good stuff”. All that waste adds weight that is factored into the price of your seed.
Take for instance a 10lb bag of bird seed. If 60% of it is fillers, you are only getting 4lbs of seed that the birds will actually eat. If you pay five or ten bucks more for a bag of seed that doesn’t contain these fillers, the birds will eat 100% of the seed. Think about it. Would you rather a $20 bag of seed that birds only eat 40% of or a $30 bag that they eat 100% of? By spending a little more initially on your seed purchase you will end up saving money in the long run. In addition to the money saved you won’t have to chisel that paste off your lawn every spring!
Local independent birding stores will have far better quality seed mixes than your favourite big box store. The best part is you won’t have to line up like cattle either!