April Program: Bird Feeding Advice

Our speaker, Claire Horvath, is owner of Mother Nature’s in Columbia. It’s a store that has all kinds of paraphernalia devoted to backyard bird feeding and for nature lovers. Clare showed us different kinds of seeds and gave advice about who eats what.

A few take-aways:

1. Nyger seed, beloved by gold finches, is not truly thistle a and there is a politically correct story behind it. It also has a short shelf life and will go bad, so don’t buy in bulk for typical backyard feeding uses.

2. Typical seed mixes go heavy on the millet–especially red proso millet which very few birds like. It’s sort of like whey–nobody really wants it but someone dreamed up a market. However, I will say that chickens and guineas relish the cheap stuff including red millet.

3. Black oil sunflower seed garners you the most birds. Striped seed has a tougher coat; blue jays will eat it but the little guys like chickadees can’t open it.

4. Many people loathe the shell cleanup under feeders. That is why shelled sunflower seeds are so popular. The bags are more expensive, but there is more product in a  same size bag of shell-less versus regular sunflowers.

5. If you compared the brains of several different mammals to man, if all were postulated to weigh 140 pounds, only the darn squirrel has a brain the approached that of a human. Pretty weird but we all know that squirrels are born problem solvers when it comes to ways of robbing a feeder!

Here are: Facebook page for Mother Nature’s and the web page.


Our member in the spotlight was Gayle Mathues who grew up in a farming family in Michigan and relocated to very different (and challenging) gardening conditions in the Carolinas before coming to Maryland.

Sue showed the fingerling potatoes that Baugher’s Garden Center is now featuring among the regular potato offerings.  She also passed around two sample Wintersown jugs from February that had sprouted seedlings.