Using caution when purchasing wild bird seed will help avoid excess waste, allelopathic effects and unwanted pests. Read this article to prevent problems with bird seeds and ensure a trouble free ornithologist experience. Click here for more info. We have a bird feeder station tucked into the corner of one of our beds. I fill this with peanuts, fat balls and BIRD SEED.
Wild Bird Seed Mixes – Problems With Bird Seeds In The Garden
There are few sights as charming as a flock of tiny, spritely songbirds, chattering jays, and other varieties of our feathered friends. Feeding birds encourages them to stay within visual contact, but there are bird seed types that may affect your prized plants. Use caution when purchasing wild bird seed to avoid excess waste, allelopathic effects, and unwanted pests. A little knowledge will help prevent problems with bird seeds and ensure a trouble-free ornithologist experience.
Bird Feeder Problems
Bird watching is a time-honored tradition and puts the gardener more in touch with nature and its denizens. Erecting bird feeders enhances the garden and persuades different species of Aves to make your landscape their home. Unfortunately, birds are not the tidiest of eaters and even a catch tray under the feeder is often not effective to prevent the spread of debris. Purchase hull free food without sunflower seeds to minimize the damage.
Many of us who have fed the birds may have noticed some ill effects on the plants below the feeders.
- Birds defecate onto plants, coating the leaves which can kill or diminish the health of the foliage.
- The waste from discarded hulls and food thrown around encourage mold and unwanted pests.
- Weeds may spring up, as the seed in wild bird food is often still viable.
Other problems with bird seeds include an allelopathic effect found in sunflowers. Sunflower seed toxins can negatively affect other plants by the release of a chemical that repels competitive vegetation. Much of the toxin is in the shell itself, so purchasing seeds with just the kernels can minimize sunflower seed toxins and their damage.
Avoiding Problems with Bird Seeds
One of the most common bird feeder problems is from the waste the birds generate as they eat. Providing bird seed types that have no waste, such as shells or hulls, prevents molding debris and general mess. The entire portion of the seed is edible and will get eaten by either the birds or other animals who like seeds – such as rodents, raccoons, deer, and even bears.
This brings us to another issue, pests. There are repellents to try a reduce pest activity, or you can rake up any debris and dispose of it. Limiting the amount of refuse below the feeder is crucial to avoiding pest problems. Use a feeder with a broad tray that catches the bulk of the discarded seed.
An obvious solution is to move the feeders to a location where there are no other plants below and a site that is easy to clean up after messy birds feed. A bare site under the feeder will give birds a chance to have a dirt bath, a site that is entertaining to the eye and necessary for many varieties of birds. You might consider spreading a tarp below to catch seed and make disposal easier.
If all else fails, install shorter varieties of sunflower below the feeder. They are immune to their own allelopathy and will grow and provide habitat and cover for birds. As an added bonus, the season end mature heads provide free food for your feathered friends.
Bird feeders causing weeds?
We have a bird feeder station tucked into the corner of one of our beds. I fill this with peanuts, fat balls and BIRD SEED. In the surrounding area underneath a type of grass has started growing in the bed. I assumed it was dreaded couch grass but this is very different, growing from a kind of kernel. I mentioned it to someone else who said the same thing had happened in their garden forcing them to move their feeder onto the lawn. Has anyone else noticed the same thing associated to bird seed?
Yes and it could be a kind of crop. We have had many seeds germinate including Niger seed, wheat, barley and sunflowers. The wheat and barley look more grass-like initially. I know that I get it most when I leave the feeder in one place. It helps to move the feeders periodically in any case to help prevent diseases that can affect the birds and/or encourage vermin.
Certainly can ! I have loads of things growing underneath my bird feeders.
A devil to keep clean and constantly have to get rid of it all !
If you microwave your bird seed for a minute or two it can remove its power to germinate yet leave it good for the birds. I have a large stone slab under my fat ball feeders to catch seeds that drop and I also scatter loose seed on it for ground feeders. It’s easy enough to weed round its edges once in a while.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
I’ve got a resident clever blackbird wo watches for the blue tits feeding at the fat balls and sits underneath on the lawn catching anything that falls down. It’s as if they have come to an understanding!
Obelixx – what a brilliant idea. I would never have thought of that, but will adopt it from now on. I have loads of random seedlings under the bird feeder, and it is a nuisance. But I put up with it when, on a day like today, I had 6 siskins, 4 goldfinches on the feeder at one time. But I haven’t seen as many blue or great tits this year
I also have some large stone slabs directly beneath my bird feeder.
The original reason why I put the slabs there was because the ‘grass’ beneath a bird feeder gets churned up, and muddied, mainly by other birds pecking at the bits that drop from the feeder. One way or another it becomes a real mess.
The slabs also catch the debris, which does need to be cleared off regularly. Otherwise it develops into a mat, and then into a bed of nyjer seedlings, or whatever.
I also use that as an area to spread other food, that ground feeding birds prefer.
Some time ago it was suggested to me, and approved of by the RSPB who should know a thing or two about birds, that microwaving the bird seed for a couple of minutes on high power, then allowing it to cool it before it goes into the feeder, stops the seed germinationg. it does work. It seems that it makes no difference to the nutritional value for the birds.
I reused to let the OH put bird feeder in border. It’s in the lawn where it can be mowed and strimmed.
Thanks for your advice – am definitely going to try the microwave trick. Plus, on the positive side be a)happy it’s this type of grass and not couch grass and b) glad Ian not mad for imagining there is link between the two!
Has anyone else had this problem with a niger (nyjer) feeder? I’ve got one of these which attracts the occasional goldfinch, and is also popular with greenfinches. But somehow a lot of the seed ends up on the ground beneath the feeder – I’ve just cleared up a thick layer of the stuff. They don’t eat it once it’s landed, and it doesn’t seem to grow either, but I hate the waste as this seed is not cheap. I really don’t know how they manage to drop so much. I have seen feeders that incorporate a tray underneath – presumably this would have to have drainage holes to avoid a soggy mess. But it seems a shame to abandon the feeder I’ve got which is quite a well-made and solid one. Any ideas as to why this happens and what I can do about it?
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