As you probably noticed, I have a thing for birds. I love all these wild birds that come visit us and I especially love my chickens, ducks, pheasant and quail.
They are so fun to keep!
Plus, they give me a reason to get up every day and their eggs and meat are pretty tasty, too, as an added bonus! 😆
Over the years we’ve had parakeets, cockatiels, an Amazon parrot named Bowie (who knew every bad word in the english language!) that we fostered and a Ringneck parrot named Tuco that we got for our daughter.
Bowie and Tuco made great Christmas ornaments as well as adorable and entertaining feathered companions!
So yeah, I kind of love birds of all kinds both foreign and domestic.
Speaking of that…
I ordered a new feeder which should be here next week. It will really up my feeding game and should bring in a lot more of my favorites like the northern flickers…
And the house finches…
And of course my darling little house sparrows…
The problem is, it will also bring in more of the starlings and magpies which I really don’t want or need, but there’s not much I can do about that.
The thing about birds is that you can’t pick and choose which ones come or don’t.
Or can you? 🤔
I looked into that and found out that my little house sparrows as well as the starlings are both foreign, invasive birds that came here in the 1800’s and exploded in population! They drive out the native birds and do a lot of damage to crops and stuff.
I had no idea! I honestly just thought they were either cute (sparrows) or annoying (starlings) and didn’t think much of them but it turns out I’ve been adding to the problem in the way I’ve been feeding all my birds (oops!) so I need to do something about that.
Here’s what the experts suggest:
Another simple way to reduce the number of House Sparrows and European Starlings around your property is to avoid feeding them. House Sparrows prefer smaller seeds like millet, cracked corn, and milo, which are plentiful in inexpensive bird seed mixes. European Starlings, on the other hand, like premium black-oil sunflower seeds. Bird enthusiasts must accept that wherever there is abundant food, so too will there be Starlings and House Sparrows. If you do feed wild birds, offer foods that these species do not appreciate, such as safflower for Northern Cardinals, nyjer or “thistle” seeds for finches, and nectar for hummingbirds. Avoid putting out mealworms and suet, and scattering seed on the ground. Feeders with short perches and small ports are also less attractive to these two species.NestWatch.org
Unfortunately I read this after I ordered a new bag of wild bird seed filled with everything they suggest not to put out! 🙄
I also have the added issue of them swarming when I feed the poultry. The starlings and sparrows absolutely mob the pens and gobble up a ton of the feed I put out every day so I need to look into feeders that only allow the chickens, ducks, pheasant and quail in and keep everyone else out.
We did that with the dog’s food a couple years ago when the magpies were getting so aggressive and swarming their pens fighting with them over the food, so technically it can be done. We just haven’t made it a priority.
We will now, though, because honestly? I’m tired of cutting starlings down out of the poultry netting! 😣