Cheryl Harner's Flora and Butterfly Blog
Weedpicker's Journal: Discover the native plants of Ohio and the butterflies that utilize them.
Winter Seeds January 11, 2009

Winter has coated the mid-Ohio snow belt with a vengeance. Although we are snow bound, I am warm and content, watching the birds gather at the various feeders. And recently, we added a new series of feeders- taking bird feeding to "new levels," so to speak.

A recent decision to move my office upstairs was countered with several family members' incredulous question, "But what about your feeders?" They apparently believe the time I profess to being productive, I am actually looking out the window at passing titmice and chickadees. It may be all too true, so I decided to take my seeds to a new level.

Botany and bird feeding obviously go hand-in-glove, for what is bird feeding, if it is not the offering of plant seeds? Black-oil sunflower is the main stay, but millet, cracked corn, safflower and the exotic niger, Guizotica abyssinicaz from Ethiopia are all part of the standard routine. Don't worry, that non-native thistle-seed, as habitat forming as crack-cocaine for goldfinches, is heat treated to prevent germination. No invasive plant species allowed!

But special considerations were needed for second-story feeding. No cast-off sunflower shells, as the inevitable mess on the roof top and gutters would get me in trouble with "the management". Ease of filling feeders from the top of a window was important too. We settled on a platform feeder hung from the gutter and filled with clean, shelled sunflower, millet and peanuts. The nuthatches and juncos approve. The Downy Woodpecker was the first to arrive at the hanging suet block, but the finches must be a little slow... as they have not yet discovered the new thistle-seed sock awaiting them.

This little safe haven, protected by roof line, is becoming popular as it is wind and snow free. Every couple of days I lower the top of the window, throw out a new scoop of mixed food, click in a new block of suet, and can easily hang a freshly filled thistle-seed sock.

Welcome to my office, winter seeds are just part of the work.

2009-01-11 13:08:39 GMT
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