Feeding wild birds in the winter garden adds activity and interest to the landscape. The old adage “you get what you pay for” certainly rings true when it comes to buying wild bird food.
Some commercial mixes contain a high percentage of fillers such as milo and wheat which are not appealing to most bird species and will result in a lot of wasted seed. A quality food mix leaves behind mostly empty shells. Many folk use straight sunflower seed for feeding and this can work very well. I prefer a mix of sunflower, safflower, peanuts, pistachios, dried raisins and dried cranberries. This mix which sounds more like a trail mix for humans than a food for wild birds attracts a wide variety of birds to my garden every day.
I have mentioned before that evergreen shrubs serve an important role in the winter garden in contributing to the bones of the garden. Evergreens in the winter garden also serve as a source of protection for birds against inclement weather and predators. I have placed my pole feeder next to a large holly where a collection of Chickadees, Nuthatch, Finch, Cardinals, Titmouse, Northern Flickers and Blue Jays feed and sit in the warmth of the sun. A nearby garden bench makes for a great viewing station on a sunny day!