Friday, April 27, 2012

Cockatiel Birds Q&A: Can you feed wild outdoor birds cockatiel food?

Question by punzki01: Can you feed wild outdoor birds cockatiel food?
My cockatiel just passed away and I have a huge bag of cockatiel food left over. I was wondering if I’d be able to use the seed up by feeding it to the outdoor birds.

Best answer:

Answer by Ali H
There are many kinds of feeds available to attract birds. You can buy mixes or single types of feeds at supermarkets, livestock feed stores, garden supply stores, or through catalogs. The particular type of mix you put out influences the number and variety of birds that will use feeding places. Until recently, there has been little scientific information to guide the selection of bird feeds. Now we know much better what feeds attract or fail to attract different kinds of birds to feeders.

This information on relative attractiveness of bird feeds is based on 710,450 observations of birds choosing between two or more feeds at experimental feeders in Maryland, California, Ohio, and Maine. In these studies, black-striped sunflower and white prove millet (s and p following the bird names in Table 1) were used as standards. All other feeds were presented at experimental feeding tables along with one or both of these standards to measure relative attractiveness. The work was done under the direction of the Urban Wildlife Research Program of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. However, the bulk of observations were made by volunteers.

The 21 kinds of seeds commonly used to feed birds are pictured and named in Table 1.

The scientific basis for assigning ratings is explained in a footnote to the table. From the other viewpoint, Table 2 lists 18 kinds of birds that frequently visit feeders across the country, and their preferred foods. Many birds are generalists and will eat a variety of foods. However, even generalists have preferred foods. By presenting foods known to attract the birds you want to see, you will attract desired species and your feeders may be less attractive to unwanted birds, such as starlings.

Table 2. Preferred Foods of Common Birds.

American goldfinch hulled sunflower seeds, niger seeds, and oil-type sunflower seeds.
Blue Jay peanut kernels, black-stripe, gray-stripe, and oil-type sunflower seeds.
Brown-headed cowbird white proso, red proso, German millet, and canary seed.
Cardinal sunflower seeds of all types.
Chickadees oil-type and black-striped sunflower seeds, peanut kernels.
Dark-eyed junco red proso, white proso millet, canary seed, and fine-cracked corn.
Common grackle hulled sunflower seeds and cracked corn.
Evening grosbeak sunflower seeds and cracked corn.
House finch In Maryland, oil-type and black-striped sunflower seeds, sunflower kernels and pieces, and niger. In California, white prove millet and flax also readily taken.
House sparrow white proso millet, canary seed, and German (“golden”) millet.
Mourning dove oil-type sunflower seeds, white prove millet, niger, and German (“golden”) millet.
Purple finch sunflower seeds and kernels.
Starling peanut hearts and hulled oats.
Song sparrow white and red prove millet.
Tufted titmouse peanut kernels, black-striped and oil-type sunflower seeds.
White-crowned sparrow oil-type sunflower seed, sunflower kernels and pieces, white and red prove millet, peanut kernels and hearts, niger seed.
White-throated sparrow oil and black-striped sunflower seeds, sunflower kernels and pieces, white and red prove millet, and peanut kernels.

Sunflower seeds attract most seed-eating birds. The most attractive sunflower seed is the black, oil-type. Another outstanding food is a type of millet, known as white prove or white millet. White millet attracts house sparrows and brown-headed cowbirds. However, when there are small sparrow-like birds around, such as juncos and song sparrows, white prove millet is needed. The common cereal grains- sorghum, wheat, cracked corn, oats, and rice-rate significantly below black oil-type sunflower seed or white prove millet in feeding tests. Other relatively unattractive seeds are flax, canary, and rape. A common ingredient in mixes, peanut hearts, strongly attracts starlings. You can discourage house sparrows, brown-headed cowbirds, blue jays, and grackles while at the same time offering a moderately attractive food to cardinals and mourning doves by feeding safflower seeds. Safflower is of little interest to other bird species, however.

Rather than buying mixes, the bird feeder will spend his money more effectively by buying black, oil-type sunflower and white prove millet separately, in bulk from seed or animal feed dealers. Depending on the kinds of birds present, the amounts of these two best foods can be varied to attract the birds you want to see.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

Tags:Birds, Cockatiel, feed., food, outdoor, wild


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...