I have decided not to buy any of the mixed bird seed this year after reading about the lawsuit against the Scotts Miracle-Gro company and the toxic pesticides they knowingly put in their wild bird seed a few years ago. They have since admitted that they coated their seed mixes with pesticides to protect the seeds during storage… and these were extremely toxic pesticides that they knew would kill the birds. They have also admitted that they lied to the government and consumers when they insisted the pesticides were safe. The company will pay a fine but that seems like a hollow punishment to me when you compare it to the number of wild birds and other wildlife that lost their lives because they ate this company’s poisoned seed. This, of course, explains why the wild bird population became almost non-existent at our feeder and so many other feeders across the country a few years ago. It makes me really angry that this company’s lack of caring and stupid lies put so many of us in a situation where we were actually poisoning the birds we were trying to help. Supposedly this company’s wild bird seed is now safe and non-toxic, but I wonder if that can be believed… especially since this company admitted that they continued to sell the poisoned seed even after they knew it would kill birds and other wildlife, and many stores selling this brand of seed also continued to sell it for up to two years after the seed had been recalled… even after they had been told it would kill the birds that ate it. I would guess that without knowing it we bought some of this recalled seed. We still have an almost full bag of this brand, a “premium” mix from this company, and I’m trying to decide how to best dispose of it so that nothing will ever eat it.
One thing I can be sure of… I will not be buying more.
Bluejay (Cyanocitta cristata)
A few weeks ago I put the feeder back up for the winter, filled it, and had birds in the feeder immediately. Apparently they have been watching and waiting. I had chickadees on my head and a bluejay landing on my arm before I even got the feeder upright.
Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
So far this year I am just feeding black sunflower seeds and the mix of pulses and seeds that is sold as pigeon food. I want to add some thistle seed if I can find any. I also put out suet, and it is a horrible piece of suet with a lot of tissue still in the fat, which makes the suet very pink. Unfortunately, it was the only suet I could find in the seven stores I called that usually have suet this time of year. It looks very unappetizing but the birds don’t seem to mind. I hope to be able to find better later on.
Mourning dove (Zenaida macroura)
I especially enjoy the mourning doves. Many people think that mourning doves won’t eat at a feeder, but this is not true. They will eat enthusiastically if the feeder has a large enough tray so they can walk instead of just perch. We often have up to sixteen doves around, on, and in the feeder all at once. There was only one dove the first day… an early adopter… first he checked out the sunflower seeds on the ground that had dropped out of the feeder and then flew immediately into the tray. After that first day we have had a crowd of doves every day. The pigeon food is especially for them, but the bluejays like it too.
White-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
For the last couple of years it’s been against the law here to feed the birds during the warm weather months, and there’s a hefty fine for anyone caught leaving a feeder up after the end of April. I take our feeders down for the summer… I would prefer to feed the birds year round because it’s a great opportunity to see baby birds up close when the parents bring them to the feeder to be fed… but there are so many bears wandering around here, I suppose not doing anything to attract them makes a lot of sense.