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View Full Version : Sourcing food for birdfeeders


AndrewHeath
Monday 18th February 2013, 02:10
Does anyone else living in China put out bird feeders? I'm moving to a slightly more rural area this fall and will have room to put out 2 or 3 feeders for the finches.

However, I have never come across "birdseed" in my wanderings. The closest equivalent I can find is seed mix for gerbils and such sold at pet stores.

If you put out feeders in China and a have a nice mix of food, please do share how/where you've gotten it!

MKinHK
Monday 18th February 2013, 02:40
Andrew,

I'm sure you could buy seed from bird shops selling cagebirds.

Cheers
Mike

AndrewHeath
Monday 18th February 2013, 03:13
I've found mixes meant for caged birds like mynas and finches, but I'm concerned about additives. The last thing I want to do is be pumping wild birds full of antibiotics and preservatives. :-/

Plain old sunflower seeds are obtainable. Peanuts and corn too... I might just start with that and see how it goes.

Gretchen
Monday 18th February 2013, 04:42
Yeah, I've had out a feeder for years! Due to certain problems (like living on an upper floor), I've never had anything other than tree sparrows. They, however, have feasted on millet. I just buy it wherever I'm buying rice etc. ("good enough for humans - good enough for birds" but maybe someone knows better?) I look for the largest kind (大黄米) - I trust that "sticky" forms are okay for birds....

I would think sunflower seeds and cracked corn and peanuts could work, depending on the types of birds you have around. Stores with more exotic grains might have some other things birds would like (there is some funny triangular grain you sometimes find in seed mixes in the States - its name slips my mind). What birds do you think you might attract - anything besides finches? Tits? Putting out lard would be easy in this weather! I've tried fruit a bit (for magpies) but never had much luck.

I think it will take patience as there is a certain amount of "training" involved in birds being interested in feeders. Looking forward to hearing what comes of your efforts.

PS - I've not posted on the garden birds subforum, but someone there might be able to comment more on what is actually good for birds (i.e. the difference between all the different types of millet).

Jeff hopkins
Monday 18th February 2013, 09:34
My experience with seed mixes in the States is that the only birds which eat millet (at least white millet) are house sparrows. If the equivalent holds true in China, I think using only millet would very much limit the possibilities.

JH

Gretchen
Monday 18th February 2013, 10:21
My experience with seed mixes in the States is that the only birds which eat millet (at least white millet) are house sparrows. If the equivalent holds true in China, I think using only millet would very much limit the possibilities.

JH

Getting house sparrows would be pretty good ;)
Actually the tree sparrows were fun to watch, but I can understand wanting more variety!

But seriously, what could one use to attract finches ? I'm not expecting to see thistle for sale, and wouldn't be sure importing it is a good idea....

AndrewHeath
Wednesday 20th February 2013, 04:39
But seriously, what could one use to attract finches ? I'm not expecting to see thistle for sale, and wouldn't be sure importing it is a good idea....

Several sources (example (http://www.garden-birds.co.uk/birds/greenfinch.htm)) say that greenfinches are pretty pleased with black sunflower seeds. As I spotted a small flock of oriental greenfinches perched on a powerline within 100m of our new house during a site visit the other day, this is one species I'm going to try and cater to (literally, ha!) from the get-go.

Here's a company that markets seed mixes based on the species you want to attract, and for greenfinches (http://www.justaddbirds.co.uk/attracting-greenfinches) they say the birds tend to eat seeds from woodland trees and hedgerow plants, many of which are less abundant now, but in your garden he will find all he needs in the shape of Sunflower Hearts, Black Sunflowers, Peanuts and other seeds from our mixes. Furthermore he will hang around once he has found a good food source - Greenfinches are quite sedentary and tend to stay close to home.

I've ordered a couple of DIY birdfeeder books and my summer project will be a bit of woodworking to get some feeders ready to go for the Autumn move-in. :t: