Feeding birds can be an enjoyable hobby, but it can also be a messy one as layers of hulls and discarded seeds accumulate under feeders, on decks, and across patios. By choosing no waste bird foods, however, that mess can be avoided and the birds will enjoy every morsel of available food.
What Makes Bird Feeding Messy
Birds are naturally messy eaters, and feeding birds for a long time can lead to dirty feeders and messy ground beneath those feeders. Unappetizing seeds will be kicked out and discarded, and birds drop hulls as they feed. Discarded seed can mold and rot, or it may sprout beneath the bird feeder, leading to undesirable weeds or damaging turf. A messy feeding area can attract pests and may result in fines or other sanctions in HOA communities. Birders who choose no waste bird foods will avoid many of these problems while giving their birds the best, most nutritious foods.
Types of No Waste Bird Foods
No-waste bird food is a type of food that birds completely consume, with no leftover hulls or uneaten pieces. There are natural no waste foods, such as floral nectar, insects, small berries, small nuts, and crabapples that birds can swallow whole. Offering these natural foods is the ideal way to keep feeding areas clean and to economize a bird feeding budget.
For supplemental bird feeders, there is a wide variety of no waste, no mess options, including:
- Hulled sunflower hearts or chips
- Suet (check ingredients to be sure there are no hulls in the blend)
- Hulled millet
- Shelled peanuts
- Peanut butter
- Cracked corn
- Grape or apple jelly or orange marmalade
- Kitchen scraps (use only sparingly as rare "treats")
These foods can be purchased individually or in specialized no waste or no mess seed blends, often with different compositions designed to attract different types of birds. While these no waste blends are more expensive than traditional birdseed, they can be a more economical option overall because birders are not paying for the weight of hulls or filler seeds birds will not eat.
Benefits of No Waste Foods
The most obvious benefit of no waste bird foods is that the birds are able to eat the entire quantity of food. This can mean feeders need less frequent refilling, and cleaning the feeders is easier because there is no need to remove unwanted debris. Because no waste birdseed has no hulls, the seeds are also unable to sprout and there will be no unintentional weeds or damage under the feeders. With less seed spilled to the ground, fewer feeder pests such as mice, rats, raccoons, squirrels, deer, and other animals will be attracted to the area.
Tips for Feeding No Waste Foods
Because no waste birdseed and other foods are typically more expensive than basic seed blends, it is important to feed them as economically as possible and to care for the seed so it is not wasted in other ways.
- Store birdseed properly so it will stay fresh and dry as long as possible, free from rodent or insect infestations. Storing birdseed in a freezer or refrigerator can ensure it stays fresh and is not contaminated by pests.
- Use no waste birdseed on decks, balconies, patios, or other areas where mess is undesirable, but use less expensive seed elsewhere to lower the bird feeding budget and offer more feeding options for more birds.
- Use platforms under feeders so any unintentional waste is minimized and larger birds can feed from the platform to clean up spillage. This will also create extra feeding space to accommodate flocks.
- Protect bird feeders from moisture with suitable placement and covers, since hulled seeds will spoil more quickly when wet. On rainy days, consider leaving feeders empty to avoid mildewed or damp seed.
- Buy different no waste seeds and foods in bulk and create customized seed mixes rather than paying for expensive manufactured blends. This ensures the seeds offered are perfect for exactly the backyard birds that visit.
No mess bird seed and other no waste bird foods are ideal choices for feeding birds and eliminating much of the mess that comes with bird feeding. By choosing these high-quality, desirable foods, birders can attract a wide range of birds to their feeders without needing to clean up after them.