White Millet: Just Cheap Filler?

Fiction: White Millet is a cheap filler seed.

Fact: White Proso Millet is the number one choice of many ground-feeding birds like towhees, song sparrows, juncos, and buntings. The problem is that most commercial mixes contain more millet than anything else – a definite negative when put in a tubular or wooden feeder where perch feeding birds are looking for oil sunflower.  If all a sunflower-loving bird finds in a feeder is millet, it will tire of kicking out the millet and move on, leaving you with a feeder full of uneaten seed.
A good mix will contain just enough millet for the ground feeders to benefit from the perch feeders’ habit of kicking out the seeds they don’t like, but not so much that the perch feeders will become discouraged.  That way you attract a greater variety of wild birds both on and below the feeder. So, bottom line – a little millet is good, a lot of millet is bad.

No Such Thing as a No-Waste Birdseed?

Fiction: There are many “no waste, no mess” birdseed mixes available.

Fact: The only true “no waste” seed is sunflower meats (a.k.a. hulled sunflower). “No waste” means that the birds eat every part of the seed or mix so that there is nothing left over or “wasted”. So, any seed that has a shell, or any mix that contains seeds with shells, cannot by definition be “no waste” because the birds do not eat the birdseed shells. Some companies market their mixes as no waste/no mess products even though they contain Safflower (which has a shell), or Niger (also has a shell), or even Oil sunflower (complete with shell of course). Beware of these misleading advertisements or you’re sure to be disappointed when you have to clean up the leftovers.

Birds Won’t Survive Without Supplements?

Fiction: Wild birds need vitamin and mineral supplements added to their birdseed to help them survive

Fact: Most wild birds eat from a wide variety of food sources (insects, berries, seeds, etc.) which guarantees they get all the vitamins and minerals they need naturally. As long as your birdseed is fresh, high quality stuff like Cole’s, your feathered friends are sure to thrive.

Needless to say, real nutritional supplements are not harmful; however, the most common way for companies to add “vitamins” to their products is to simply coat it with mineral oil and add crushed rock.  Current regulations allow a manufacturer to list the nutritional components of mineral oil (iron, zinc) and crushed rock (Vitamin A, calcium carbonate) separately, which can make the birdseed ingredients look more impressive than they really are.  Adding mineral oil to birdseed also makes it look shiny and helps to hide dirt and dust, and of course the crushed rock adds weight to the final product.

Bird Seed Doesn’t Spoil?

Fiction:  Birdseed doesn’t go bad

Fact:  It is important to remember that all birdseed is perishable. Be sure and store any open product in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent the seed from drying out and little critters from finding it.

Cole’s is proud to feature Nitrogen Purged Barrier Packaging to ensure seed freshness and no bugs in every unopened bag. We use the same packaging technology employed by potato chip makers and fresh vegetable farmers to keep their products fresher longer. So you will never open a bag of Cole’s wild bird seed and find dried out seeds or pesky meal moths in it.

In the off chance your birdseed gets an Indian Meal Moth (a.k.a. pantry moth) or two after you open it, it is still okay to use. A few tiny insects will not decrease the attractiveness of the seed to the birds. After all, insects are a natural part of their regular diet.  If you find that these little creatures “bug” you, you can either put your seed in the freezer for 48 hours to kill them, or simply offer it up to your feathered friends in the backyard. They’ll thank you for the easy catch!

Exploding Birds?

You’ve probably heard the old warning about throwing rice at weddings.  You know, the one about the poor birds who’ll EXPLODE if they eat raw rice because the rice expands in their stomach?

Well, you’ll be happy to know that it’s an urban myth.  Rice can actually be a nutritious snack for some geese!

So next time you’re at a wedding and someone throws raw rice, you should rest assured knowing the birds won’t eat it and pop!