Monday, June 4, 2012

Bird Seed - Ugh!

 We love to feed the birds....winter, summer, spring and fall!  It is such a pleasure to sit every morning with coffee in hand watching all our fine feathered friends fly about our yard.  Except...oh the mess the
bird feeders make!
Can you see all the seed on the ground?  When the rains came and warmer weather followed, the seeds germinated and in came the
 W E E D S !
As you can see, the seed is thick.  Part of the problem is that the pesky squirrels dump the seed out of the tubular feeders trying to get a snack.  But--I can't blame them totally because the sparrows are the other problem.  They must be really picky eaters.  We watch them scatter the seed looking for their favorite.  Kind of like digging through a bag of chocolate searching for the one you like I suppose.  But, this kind gardener had grown very tired of a constant bird seed mess.  Ugh.  So...two of the feeders came down (there is plenty to eat now anyway) and the area was cleared out.  I dug out the top layer of soil which was nothing but layers of seed, and put down newspaper, then topsoil.  Then I took some of our left over flagstone and covered the soil, then topped it off with mulch.  It looks so much better!
 I added some flagstone on top so we could step in the garden to fill the one remaining feeder that sits at the top of the black pole you can see in this picture.
I then added two blackfoot daisies and a Rudbeckia (Prarie Sun) to the new area. I hated to pull out all the clasping coneflowers, but they were going to seed anyway and the wind was making them fall over which made this bed look even worse.
I am really pleased with the clean up job.  We are still feeding birds, but the tubular feeders are gone, so the squirrels are not able to dump seed on the ground.  The birds still flick unwanted seed, and yes, I know the seed will germinate in the mulch, but it is less seed with one feeder, and easier to dig out since the mulch is on top of stone. I know they make birdseed that will not germinate, but I have also heard it is quite pricey and does not attract lots of birds.  If anyone has experience with this seed, I would sure love to hear about it.  For now we will continue our morning ritual, coffee and bird watching--but I sure wish I could rid that area completely of birdseed weeds!


Northern Shade said...

The after shots look so crisp and clean with the new mulch background. Perhaps the new plantings will help to keep down the weeds from the bird seed as they fill in.

CiNdEe said...

I had that problem but now I just feed them scratch. No weeds and the birds all enjoy it(-:

Meadowview Thymes said...

Northern Shade--I wish you were right (and thanks for the compliment on the cleaned up bed!) Unfortunately, the tiny seeds find their way between the plants. I am still pulling up weeds-just not as many.

Cindee--I thought that was just for chickens. Do you put it in your bird feeders? Thanks for the idea!

Janet said...

Thank you for showing so well the seed/weed problem and your solutions. I've had the same problem and wondered what to do.
I've been meaning to try those rubber round pads you can put around trees but haven't seen them at the nursery lately. Right now my feeder is over the grass and that is working well. Except, my poodle-maltese mix dog gets obsessed with digging out the seeds with her nose! Thanks for your great pics and blog!
Janet from LaPorte (near Houston, Tx)

Meadowview Thymes said...

Janet--I thought about putting the feeder in the grass, but our backyard is so small it would really be in the way. My husband has seen boxes built around the feeders trying to contain the seeds, but again-we are dealing with a small area. I tried putting landscape fabric down, and even used trash bags under the mulch, but the seeds still germinate. The answer is of course--don't feed the birds in summer, but we love them in our yard and are not yet willing to give that up. Thanks for your comment! :)