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Making feed last longer (1 Viewer)

tucansam

Well-known member
I've done homemade suet cakes, and they last 2-3 days in my back yard. Filling a feeder with loose seed, it lasts about one day.

Most of the birds that come are the little house finches (which I've read are essentially vermin and are to be exterminated but I cannot bring myself to do that).

I'm trying to figure out a way to make the seed last longer. The only thing I can think of is making them "work" for, it, that is to say, some sort of feeder that dispenses it quite slowly vs an open feeder with raw seed just laying out and available.

Any idea?
 
I'm not sure where you read that that they "are to be exterminated", but they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Killing them is illegal, even in the eastern United States where they are an introduced species.

House Finch typically don't eat suet unless you add seeds to it. If you are adding seeds, eliminating them should make the suet last longer.
 
I have read several articles likening several common house species to rodents, specifically calling them invasive, and destructive to the habitats of other birds, as they are so prolific and aggressive. I've seen them at feeders fighting off every other kind of bird that comes to my yard. Articles suggested that the invasive species are to be eradicated at every available opportunity.

I take regular birdseed mix, add sunflower seeds, and mix it with existing store-bought suet. I'm not sure what other recipes to use. I am mostly interested in attracting cardinals, and they seem absolutely smitten with the black oil sunflower seeds.
 
I think that you may be confusing House Sparrow with House Finch. House Sparrow is native to Europe and parts of Africa and Asia. They can be aggressive, and can displace native species, and some people call for their removal. The native range of House Finch is the western United States and Mexico. They could be considered invasive in the eastern US, but not in Arizona. Even if they would be considered invasive it is still illegal to kill them. Any article suggesting that you do so is telling you to break the law.

Neither Northern Cardinal or House Finch are particularly fond of suet. They are eating it to get the seeds. You could save the cost and effort of mixing the seeds with suet if you just got a platform feeder and filled it with black oil sunflower seeds.

https://www.birdsandblooms.com/birding/attracting-birds/six-ways-attract-cardinals/
 
For the various varieties of finches I use only a single nyjer feeder with metal mesh that holds about a 4 day supply. For my other bird species I have a feeder that holds sunflower seeds in the shell which they will not touch but do feed the jays, grosbeaks, oak titmouse, and chestnut chickadees.

A separate Squirrel buster feeder has 6 feeding ports and I fill it with sunflower kernels that I buy in 35 lb bags to get the best price. I taped over 3 of the 6 ports as with half as many ports the seed last longer and the grosbeaks and acorn woodpeckers will scare off the finches when they come to feed. I use a quail and dove mix that I throw out onto the ground and so only ground feeding species (quail, doves, sparrows, juncos, jays) will eat it.

Switching to mostly seed mixes without seeds that the birds disdain like corn and red millet, the seed lasts longer and my overall costs are the same.
 

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