Seeds of a Dilemma
I have a seed problem. I bought a new bird feeder from Wild Birds Unlimited. It serves its purpose admirably, which is to attract large finches, such as cardinals and grosbeaks. Well, the grosbeaks don’t arrive until spring, but the cardinals definitely love this feeder. It’s a tube feeder with extra large perches designed for the big finches. The problem is that it generates a staggering amount of spilled seed.
I used to attract large finches with a platform feeder. It definitely did the trick, but it had a couple of problems. First was that it attracted birds other than the large finches. Mourning doves, for example. I have nothing against mourning doves. I like the plaintive “coo, coo.” And I don’t mind how it sounds like they need some WD-40 when they fly. But those things are eating machines. Whenever I put out new seed, a squadron of mourning doves would descend, and the seed is gone.
Also, the seed was exposed to the elements on the platform feeder, so it was always getting wet and gunky.
Judy, of course, didn’t want me to stop using the platform feeder. She thought the mourning doves looked like they were having a cocktail party on a terrace when they congregated there. Judy is extremely conservative when it comes to any kind of change in domestic life.
So I got the new tube feeder with the extra large perches. As I say, the new feeder works, but all the spilled seed on the grass looks really, well, seedy. So what to do? Can’t go back to the platform feeder, that would mean admitting to Judy that I made an unnecessary purchase. And once I start going down that road, it could spell ruination for future gardening and related projects.
I recently bought some cheap, wide plastic birdbaths without stands. I placed them on the ground under the tube feeder, and they catch at least some of the seed. My thought is to remove them when company comes over. I’m also considering taking up the turf around the feeder and replacing it with stone or brick pavers. That would make it easier to occasionally scoop up the fallen seed.
I should check out the price of sunflower chips and see if it would be that much more expensive than the safflower seeds I’m using.
If anyone who reads this has suggestions for dealing with this problem, let me know – even if it’s just the seed of an idea. (Sorry.)