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Attract Backyard Birds with the Right Seeds

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(Family Features) While almost all bird seed may look pretty much the same to you, it doesn’t to the birds you’re feeding. Knowing what kinds of seeds different birds like can help you attract a variety of fine feathered friends to your feeders.

Consider these popular seed types and the common backyard birds they attract:

Sunflower – Black sunflower seeds attract blue jays, goldfinches, woodpeckers, purple finches, chickadees, titmice and nuthatches. Striped sunflower seeds appeal to chickadees, doves, grosbeaks, northern cardinals, nuthatches, titmice and woodpeckers. Sunflower hearts (also known as “hulled sunflower” and “sunflower chips”) attract chickadees, common redpolls, juncos, doves, finches, goldfinches, grosbeaks, nuthatches, pine siskins, titmice and woodpeckers.

Nyjer – These lightweight, tiny seeds are a favorite of goldfinches. Put nyjer seeds in a hanging feeder with tiny holes so the small seeds won’t get blown away. Nyjer also attracts redpolls, juncos, doves, indigo bunting and pine siskin.

Safflower – These white seeds are slightly smaller than black sunflower seeds. Because they are bitter, grackles, blue jays, starlings – and squirrels – don’t like them. However, they do attract doves, purple finches, chickadees, titmice and downy woodpeckers.

White millet – Good for scattering on the ground, white millet attracts ground feeders such as juncos, sparrows, indigo buntings, towhees and mourning doves.

Cracked corn – Popular with ground feeders, cracked corn appeals to doves, crows, jays, sparrows, juncos and towhees. Avoid getting finely cracked corn as it’s vulnerable to rot and can quickly turn to mush.

When choosing a bird seed mix, pay attention to the ingredients list on the package. Bird seed is required by law to list ingredients in order of content. Some cheaper mixes have filler seeds such as wheat, red milo, red millet or “assorted grain products.” Most backyard birds won’t eat those, and your seed mix could end up wasted on the ground.

Learn more about making your backyard an oasis for birds of all kinds at eLivingtoday.com.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash


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home gardening

Make a Positive Impact by Planting a Tree

Here are some tips for planting a tree in your yard properly.

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Make a Positive Impact by Planting a Tree

(Family Features) There are countless ways you can make your environmental contributions felt. If you’d like to join millions of others in the fight for Mother Earth, consider one of the most popular gifts given back to the world each year: planting a tree.

Consider these tips to properly plant a tree in your own yard.

Choose the Right Tree and Location
Depending on where you live and your desired outcome, choosing the right tree and planting location are critical factors. Larger shade trees help cool homes in warmer climates, evergreens provide privacy and fruit trees offer a grocery store right in your backyard. Consider your available space along with conditions that will impact the tree itself, such as soil conditions, sun exposure, drainage and more.

Dig Safely
Before digging, remember that proper tree placement requires factoring in underground utility lines, overhead power lines and proximity to sidewalks, driveways and homes. Dial 811, the national call-before-you-dig number, to locate underground utilities and consider contacting an arborist or tree care professional to make sure you’ve weighed all the important factors.

Break Ground
Dig a hole that’s roughly 2-3 times wider than the root ball of your tree and equally as deep as the root ball. Be sure the trunk flare (where the trunk expands at the base of the tree) is partially visible when planted. Remove any wrapping or cover from the root ball and trunk. Lift from the root ball, not the trunk, to place in the hole then straighten vertically and firmly backfill soil around the root ball to stabilize.

Add Mulch
Mulching helps maintain moisture and improve soil conditions while controlling weed growth. Place a 2-3-inch layer in a 3-foot radius around the base of the tree without touching the trunk itself.

Keep Soil Moist
Make sure your tree has enough water to grow strong by keeping the soil moist. Typically, this means watering just once per week, barring rain, but may require more frequency during especially hot weather.

Find more tips for giving back to Mother Earth at eLivingtoday.com.

Watch video to find out how!


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home gardening

Make an Impact This Earth Day: 5 steps to plant a tree

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(Family Features) There are countless ways you can make your contributions felt this Earth Day. If you’d like to join millions of others in the fight for the environment, consider one of the most popular gifts given back to the world each year: planting a tree.

With hundreds of millions of trees planted since the first celebration in 1970, per earthday.org, you can be part of one of the largest civic events on the planet. Consider these tips to properly plant a tree in your own yard.

Choose the Right Tree and Location
Depending on where you live and your desired outcome, choosing the right tree and planting location are critical factors. Larger shade trees help cool homes in warmer climates, evergreens provide privacy and fruit trees offer a grocery store right in your backyard. Consider your available space along with conditions that will impact the tree itself, such as soil conditions, sun exposure, drainage and more.

Dig Safely
Before digging, remember that proper tree placement requires factoring in underground utility lines, overhead power lines and proximity to sidewalks, driveways and homes. Dial 811, the national call-before-you-dig number, to locate underground utilities and consider contacting an arborist or tree care professional to make sure you’ve weighed all the important factors.

Break Ground
Dig a hole that’s roughly 2-3 times wider than the root ball of your tree and equally as deep as the root ball. Be sure the trunk flare (where the trunk expands at the base of the tree) is partially visible when planted. Remove any wrapping or cover from the root ball and trunk. Lift from the root ball, not the trunk, to place in the hole then straighten vertically and firmly backfill soil around the root ball to stabilize.

Add Mulch
Mulching helps maintain moisture and improve soil conditions while controlling weed growth. Place a 2-3-inch layer in a 3-foot radius around the base of the tree without touching the trunk itself.

Keep Soil Moist
Make sure your tree has enough water to grow strong by keeping the soil moist. Typically, this means watering just once per week, barring rain, but may require more frequency during especially hot weather.

Find more tips for giving back to Mother Earth at eLivingtoday.com.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash


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Why Wild Bird Lovers Should Choose Top-of-the-Crop Natural Feed: If you can’t read it, don’t feed it

A growing number of Americans are choosing natural foods for their pets; nearly one-third say they prefer natural products, according to PetFoodIndustry.com.

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(Joan Casanova) Have you ever wondered what’s in your favorite packaged foods, grabbed a box from your pantry, read the ingredients and realized you still didn’t know what you’re eating? The ingredients in some processed foods can read like a chemist’s shopping list. Now imagine if backyard birds could read. What would they say about the ingredients in the food you feed them?

A growing number of Americans are choosing natural foods for their pets; nearly one-third say they prefer natural products, according to PetFoodIndustry.com. People who feed wild birds also want to know they’re feeding the most natural and nutritious options. It’s hard to be confident when reading the mystifying ingredient list on feed bags makes you feel like a bird brain.

With an abundance of options, ranging from commercial bird feeds to small-batch varieties, understanding the differences can help bird lovers make informed choices to meet wild birds’ nutritional needs while considering factors like sustainability and quality.

The wild bird experts at Cole’s Wild Bird Products, Co. offer these tips to ensure you’re feeding your feathered friends a healthy, natural diet.

While commercial bird feeds aim to provide basic nutrition for birds, the quality and nutritional content can vary. Some mixes contain a high proportion of less desirable seeds and fillers, offering limited nutritional value.

Small batch bird feeds prioritize nutritional content, using premium ingredients rich in essential nutrients, fats and proteins. This can provide birds with a more balanced diet, promoting overall health and vitality.

Avoid commercial bird feeds that are full of cheap fillers, such as red milo, millet, cracked corn, oats and wheat. Fillers lack nutritional value and birds will kick them right out of the feeder.

Instead, select small batch, natural feed comprised of top-of-the-crop seeds which contain no chemicals or mineral oil like Cole’s and bypass seed coated with them. Some commercial bird feeds are coated with mineral oil and mixed with crushed rock to add “vitamins.” Current regulations allow manufacturers to list nutritional components of mineral oil (iron, zinc) and crushed rock (vitamin A, calcium carbonate) separately, which can make the ingredients look more impressive. Mineral oil makes birdseed shiny and helps hide dirt and dust, and crushed rock adds weight to the product.

Take note of ingredients you can’t read; often it’s an indication the ingredient is synthetic or lab engineered. Ingredients like menadione sodium bisulfite complex and thiamine mononitrate aren’t found in natural foods; they’re man-made versions of vitamins. The rule of thumb for buying all-natural is “If you can’t read it, don’t feed it.”  

Focus on serving feed with an ingredient list you can read and understand. For instance, Cole’s Sunflower Meats contains nothing but shelled sunflower seeds and White Millet contains 100% white millet. Super simple, right?

Study birds visiting your feeders and research feed they prefer or buy feed from a reputable company that’s done that work for you. For example, Cole’s offers select natural seed choices developed and based on research about what birds actually eat. Feed is specifically formulated to attract certain species of birds as well as the largest number of birds. No cheap filler seeds are used and seed is cleaned to ensure quality – no sticks and dirt. When you know and serve what backyard birds prefer, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Supplement seed with natural foods you have at home. For example, woodpeckers love raw peanuts, mockingbirds love fruit and chickadees savor suet. Soak raisins and currants in water overnight then serve or purchase blends with a dried fruit and nut mixture, like Nutberry suet. To attract orioles, skewer halved oranges on a spike near feeders.

Buy feed from companies specializing in wild bird food. Some offer bird feed as a side product of pet products or grass seed producers. Conversely, Cole’s exclusively produces and sells products for feeding backyard birds. Seeds are packaged like human food in “Harvest Fresh Lock” packaging so seeds don’t lose nutritional content or dry out and spoil.

To learn more about all-natural feed options with ingredients even birds could understand, visit coleswildbird.com.

Photos courtesy of Cole’s Wild Bird Products


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