Daily Archives: November 10, 2009

Changing the type of food in a bird feeder

A while ago I had this question from America –

It’s fall and I wonder  if the birds store sunflower seeds for winter.  My feeder has always had sunflower seed and the chickadees, nuthatchers and finches are steady.  Will it confuse or hinder winter feeding it I change to nyjer seed?


Hi, Believe it or not this is a tricky question.

Whenever I put a different kind of bird food into a bird feeder the bird food is never eaten.  When I put the original bird food back in the feeder it is soon eaten and emptied. 

Birds do rely on the food we put out – it does help them survive.  With winter coming on I think it will confuse them if another type of bird food is in the fooder.

Some of the visiting birds would have to look for food elsewhere and this at a time of year when they need their energy.

Could you try changing the bird food in summer when there is more food about for them?

Another idea – could you buy a new small feeder and put the nyjer seed in that.  Have two feeders side by side.   Or put a little food in a dish in the ground.

It seems a shame if you are having a steady stream of birds, to change the food and upset them.  Maybe I am biased because I never got any birds at my nyjer feeder.  In winter I still pour melted fat over the bird food which sometimes includes njyer seeds and put it on the bird table.

I put different types of bird food in the bird table and that seems to get eaten. I don’t know why different food on the bird table gets eater,but different food in the bird feeders does not.

You ask if birds store food.  In England Coal Tits hoard food.  They take the food, hide their food away, sometimes in the ground, sometimes in a tree.  They carry off nuts and store them in hiding places.  Nuts are nutritious and store well.  They also collect and store insects for a timd when there is no food.  The bird remembers the exact location.

 I know not every bird stores food.  So again the answer will be different depending on what bird we are chatting about.  That is why birds are so interesting isn’t it?

By the way good to hear from you.  You must live in America.  Can I ask which area.

Hope this answer helps.  Let me know how you get on.  Best. Trisha

Has anyone else any ideas or suggestions

White tailed blackbird in New Jersey

I saw a white-tailed balckbird in a flock of at least a hundred this morning, in Manahawkin, NJ.  I’ve never seen it before, and have been looking for other references.


How interesting.  It must have stood out a lot.  Were they flying or not.
The only references I can find are such things as a lack of good diet, old age, circulation problem and injury

Here is a link to some information



So all in all it seems that seeing a blackbird with white feathers means that the bird is not in top condition.

Perhaps this is due to the changing environment that the birds have to live in.

Maybe it is a sign of the times –  the food they eat is not ‘first class’ food.

But blackbirds with white feathers do stand out a lot.

I remember the first time I saw the white tailed blackbird in my garden.  I started to look out for it and it was good to see it come back every day.

I haven’t seen it for ages now. A blackbird,s life is not a long one.