Eating like a bird? Tips for Feeding Birds in the Midwest

This old bird adage could have several interpretations, but if you are truly eating like a bird then good for you! This would mean that you are a selective eater making sure that every calorie consumed counts and is working for you even in the most challenging environments, such as a cold midwestern winter.

But this also assumes these food sources are plentiful. For birds, particularly in the midwest, this is not always the case. Birds require food that is packed with protein, fat, oils,carbohydrates, and grit for digestion which is important in the snowy months. Since birds have a wickedly fast metabolism, they need all these ingredients to survive and thrive particularly in the dead of winter when food is highly limited. Just like when we are planning our meals for the week, it is important to make sure that we are getting food for the birds that will be beneficial to their well-being. So before you buy, make sure you check out what is in that bag of bird feed.

Quality Counts: Empty calories can do more harm than good.

Take the time to read the label. If the bag of seed contains an abundance of fillers such as milo, red millet, corn, and rye, then your birds will not get the nutrition they need. The ground feeders and rodents may like it but not your birds! It is important that your feed includes seeds high in fat and nutrients such as black oil sunflower seed, safflower, sunflower seeds, etc. and consider that some birds, such as chickadees, will freeze to death if their bellies are not full.

Freshness matters

Freshness is critical as bird seed will lose its nutritional value as it ages. At the Barn Owl, we receive approximately a ton of birdseed delivered to our store weekly. The bird seed was harvested in the most recent season and, with the exception of Nyjer (it is grown in the South Pacific and is sterilized before making it to your feeder), is all grown on farms throughout the Midwest. The Barn Owl only works with companies that put the quality of the product over profit to ensure a sustainable and thriving birding community.. Sadly this is not the case for many other popular multinational brands, who apply pesticides on their seed to reduce insect infestation and lengthen shelf life. So do your research to ensure no pesticides in any of your bird seed and other birding products. At the Barn Owl, we can make that guarantee.


Bird seed storage

As stated freshness does matter so when buying your bird seed be sure to buy just enough to feed your birds for the next month or two. Barn Owl’s weekly shipments ensure you’re getting the freshest seed possible so there is no need to stock up on seed – we have you covered. In fact, the Barn Owl has a bird seed buying program that allows you to pre-purchase a year’s worth of bird seed at a special price that can be picked up at our store throughout the year.

When you bring your seed home, make sure you store it in an airtight sealed container, keeping it dry and away from insects and mice. Also in the warmer months, try to keep the seed in a cool dark area since this product contains fresh seed and grain, and heat and humidity can hasten spoilage.

All in all, it is not only fun to have the dash of color flying through your backyard, but by feeding them the right things you are making a positive impact on their livelihood. So maybe we all could learn from our feathered friends and start eating like birds!

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