Feeding birds can be an enjoyable hobby, but it can also be a messy one as layers of hulls and discarded seeds accumulate under feeders, on decks and across patios. By choosing no waste bird foods, however, that mess can be avoided and the birds will enjoy every morsel of available food.
What Makes Bird Feeding Messy
Birds are naturally messy eaters, and feeding birds for a long time can lead to dirty feeders and messy ground beneath those feeders. Unappetizing seeds will be kicked out and discarded, and birds drop hulls as they feed. Discarded seed can mold and rot, or it may sprout beneath the bird feeder, leading to undesirable weeds. Backyard birders who choose no waste bird foods will avoid many of these problems, while giving their birds the best, most nutritious foods.
Types of No Waste Bird Foods
The definition of a no waste bird food is one that the birds completely consume, with no leftover hulls or uneaten pieces. There are natural no waste types of food, such as insects, small berries and crabapples that birds can swallow whole. For bird feeders, there is a wide variety of no waste options, including:
- Hulled sunflower hearts or chips
- Suet – Check ingredients to be sure there are no hulls in the blend
- Hulled millet
- Shelled peanuts
- Cracked corn
- Grape or apple jelly
- Kitchen scraps – Use only sparingly as "treats"
These foods can be purchased individually or in specialized no waste or no mess seed blends, often with different compositions designed to attract different types of birds. While these no waste blends are more expensive than traditional birdseed, they are actually a more economical option because birders are not paying for the weight of hulls or filler seeds birds will not eat.
Benefits of No Waste Foods
The most obvious benefit of no waste bird foods is that the birds are able to eat the entire quantity of food. This can mean feeders need less frequent refilling, and cleaning the feeders is easier. Because no waste birdseed has no hulls, the seeds are also unable to sprout and there will be no unintentional weeds under the birdfeeders. With less seed spilled to the ground, fewer feeder pests such as mice, rats and other animals will be attracted to the area.
Tips for Feeding No Waste Foods
Because no waste birdseed and other foods are typically more expensive, it is important to feed them as economically as possible and to care for the seed so it is not wasted in other ways.
- Store birdseed properly so it will stay fresh and dry as long as possible, free from rodent or insect infestations.
- Use no waste bird foods on decks, balconies, patios or other areas where mess is undesirable, but use less expensive seed elsewhere.
- Use platforms under feeders and other techniques to recycle birdseed so any unintentional waste is minimized.
- Protect birdfeeders from moisture with suitable placement and covers, since hulled seeds will spoil more quickly when wet.
- Buy different no waste seeds and foods in bulk and create customized seed mixes rather than paying for expensive manufactured blends.
No waste birdseed and other no waste bird foods are ideal choices for feeding backyard birds and eliminating much of the mess that comes with bird feeding. By choosing these high quality, desirable foods, birders can attract a wide range of birds to their feeders without needing to clean up after them.
Photo – Hulled Sunflower Hearts © theilr