Let's talk about birdseed

perennialfan273(zone 5)June 11, 2014

I'm aware this is probably better for the bird watching forum, but since my feeder is planted near perennials, I'm going to talk about it here.

We have a feeder on the side of our house. We also have some hellebores, penstemons, knautia, and some ornamental grasses planted in the area as well. Unfortunately, the birdseed isn't sterile and now I have weeds popping up near my perennials. They've gotten so bad I fear I'll have to dig up some of my perennials (just to make sure I get rid of all the weeds that are too close to them). So I ask you all, how do you feed the birds but at the same time keep weeds out (or at least at a minimum) of your perennial beds?

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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

DH got into bird photography after he retired. There are 4 feeders, plus a hummingbird feeder. The four feeders are placed so that they hang over either a path, the driveway, or grass. The squirrels usually nab any intact fallen seeds! We sometimes get sunflowers growing in the veggie pots on the driveway - we usually just let them flower for the birds to eat. If anything grows in the grass, it gets mowed when the grass does. Hulls are easily swept off the driveway and they just decompose on the paths. I've never had a 'weed' problem from the seeds. What seeds are in your feeders?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 6:25PM
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Ditto most of what woodyoak posted above. I have several feeders, two of which hang from the branches of a crabapple tree and one which is free-standing mounted at the top of an aluminum pipe. Squirrels and chipmunks actively graze the area below the feeders and eat spilled seeds. As noted above, the lawnmower keeps anything that sprouts in the grass under control.

None of my feeders hang above a garden bed but if they did, I'd just pull up the unwanted seedlings rather than disturb my perennials. Chances are they don't have an established root system and should pull up easily.

My garden beds are heavily mulched with shredded pine bark spread over layers of corrugated cardboard which suppresses nearly 90% of weeds.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 7:22PM
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sara82lee(8a - SE Va)

Hmmm. The only problem I ever had was mice getting into the bag when I left it outside. And running right past me when I picked it up. But my feeder hangs over my lawn. Which isn't exactly pure straight bladed fescue, lol. I wouldn't even be able to tell if extra weed seeds were thrown down on it.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 10:48PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

We have two feeders. One is over the grass and the other is in a shrub border that is mulched. I guess we do get a few weeds from the birdseed. IâÂÂm going to have to go check it out now. The feeder that is in the shrub border is safflower seed, so IâÂÂll have to look up a photo of a seedling to see what it looks like. I donâÂÂt have a feeder near my perennials.

And we store our birdseed in an aluminum trash can with a cover in the basement and we havenâÂÂt had any rodent problems.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 4:38AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Most of my songbirds are winter visitors and are gone by summer. Still get Bluejays ,Cardinals, but mostly asian and whitewing doves, mourning doves and various sparrows all year. and of course squirrels lol
i designed my own feeder a 2 foot square with screen botttom held by chains . . Cut the mess ,by twoi thirds . I use shelled sunflower which also reduced the mess and sprouting though Bluejays will carry the seeds al over the yard . Get LOTS of sprouts in the compost bin .
have to keep the seed indoors due to rats .
If it were up to me I'd stop the feeding in summer but the "Boss" thinks they'll starve lol
the Tray i made sure sames a lot of mess and sprouting gary

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 5:09AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

We don't feed mixed seed only chipped, shelled sunflower seed and suet, since we've been doing this we haven't had a problem.
The Anna hummingbirds stay all winter here so these feeders are up year round now.
In the winter DH broadcasts the chipped sunflower seed over the gravel floor of my lathhouse, morning and late afternoon. You wouldn't think there was a bird around but two minutes later the gravel is covered with birds, juncos, several different types of sparrows, towhees, chicadees and... they don't leave until every bit of seed has been eaten.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:00AM
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