Flocks of Birds At Your Feeders

Red-Winged Blackbirds and Common Grackle
Red-Winged Blackbirds and Common Grackle

Late winter to very early spring can be a stressful time of year for the backyard bird watcher. You put out the regular foods in the regular bird feeders for your regular birds . . . and a noisy aggressive mob of Common Grackles, Brown-Headed Cowbirds, Red-Winged Blackbirds and European Starlings show up. They take over the feeders, push the other birds out and eat a huge amount of seed. What can you do about it? Here are some options:

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Using A Squirrel Buster Standard Feeder For Dried Mealworms

Female Eastern Bluebird Getting Dried Mealworms From Feeder
Female Eastern Bluebird Getting Dried Mealworms From Feeder

I’ve offered dried mealworms in my yard for a while now, but not in a big way. I would casually toss a small handful into the nearest brush pile each morning for the Carolina Wrens who seem to love them. Because I would gather the mealworms and peanuts in the same little basket to take outside each day, inevitably a few mealworms would wind up in the platform feeder with the peanuts and the Blue Jays would often snap them up after they’d cleaned out the peanuts . . . but then the Eastern Bluebirds appeared in the yard, and I got serious about the dried mealworms!

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Choosing Seed For Backyard Birds

White-Breasted Nuthatch Eating Sunflower Hearts
White-Breasted Nuthatch Eating Sunflower Hearts

When you first start feeding birds, you might think that you can just buy any birdseed mix, plop it in whatever feeder you like and a wide variety of birds will quickly come flocking. The seed bag probably has a list of all the birds that will eat the food, so all of them should show up at your feeder, right?

Well, they might if you are lucky. But it is also very possible you will wind up with a mob of birds you don’t like dominating the feeder picking through the mix and dropping seed they don’t like on the ground to go to waste. Putting the right feeder in the right location is important, but what you put into it is important too. Here are the foods I offer birds (and foods that I don’t) in my Maryland yard, followed by a list of who eats what.

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