As an annual, safflower must be started from seed each year. The seeds sprout in just 10 to 15 days, although they must be sown at the right time and under the correct conditions to help guarantee successful, even germination.
Select foods that won’t sprout, such as sunflower hearts, peanuts, peanut butter, raisins, mealworms, and plain suet cakes. Buy only treated wild bird food mixtures. Many manufacturers are now baking their products to kill weed seeds, using guidelines established by the US Department of Agriculture.
Nyjer seed from bird seed is heat-treated to prevent germination before export. About 80 percent of the seeds are rendered incapable of germination through this method, but the remaining 20 percent will sprout. The plant produces an abundance of yellow flowers, and each flower head contains 30 to 40 seeds.
Birds throw seed hulls from the feeder
Birds eat the meat of the seed, the kernel. They discard the seed’s fibrous outer covering, the hull. If you examine the seeds under the feeder you may see that it is mostly the two inedible halves of the hull that have been tossed on the ground.
Roasted seeds that are meant for human consumption, however, will not germinate and should not be used to try to grow birdseed. Plant seeds 1-2 inches deep and 8-12 inches apart in loose soil and full sun. For the best results, plant sunflower seeds only when the spring is warm and all danger of frost is past.
Safflower is a thistle-like annual with bright orange and yellow flowers that’s grown to make cooking oils. The seeds, which are high in protein and fat, are slightly smaller than sunflower seeds. A hard white shell protects the meat and has a slightly bitter flavor. That’s why fewer birds like the seed.
Squirrels, grackles, & starlings don’t eat safflower!
There is a food that exists that your favorite songbirds will readily eat but the pesky squirrels and obnoxious blackbirds should not touch! Safflower seed is an excellent food to use in a feeder that you can’t seem to stop squirrels from jumping on.
Grackles and starlings prefer bread, corn, millet, wheat and sunflower seeds. To get rid of them, supply food they don’t like, such as thistle and nyjer seed loved by finches or safflower seeds enjoyed by cardinals, chickadees and nuthatches.
Also, because Nyjer is related to thistle and could germinate into noxious weeds, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires it to be heat-sterilized before sale. If it is heated at too high a temperature or for too long, those essential oils might be dried before the seed is even packaged.
Many of the plants that grow from birdseed can be classified as weeds. In fact, Oregon State University warns that birdseed is known for creating weed infestations.
Nyjer seed is NOT thistle. The seed is not derived from any native or non-native thistle plant; but instead, the Nyjer seed is actually derived from a plant in the same plant tribe as sunflowers. The seed resembles a sunflower seed but is significantly smaller.
Nyjer seed—also commonly known as niger or thistle seed—is popular with many backyard bird species, particularly seed-eating birds and winter finches. Knowing which birds eat Nyjer can help birders choose the best birdseed and appropriate feeders for their backyard flock.
Natural fruits that attract these birds include blueberry bushes, mulberry trees, and other dark-colored berries. Bird seeds that have been known to attract Cardinals include black oil sunflower, cracked corn, suet, Nyjer® seed, mealworms, peanuts, safflower, striped sunflower, and sunflower hearts and chips.
Even the hungriest robin doesn’t normally eat birdseed. Robins can’t digest seeds, and their beaks are not built for cracking. However, a very smart, very hungry robin that has observed other birds at feeders can learn to try birdseed! Instead, you could buy mealworms at a pet store for your hungry winter robins.
Yes, you can throw bird seed out on the ground. Many birds will eat seed on the ground. But it could become messy, attract pests, and harm the birds if not done with some planning and forethought.
What Not To Feed Wild Birds – 15 Worst Foods- Bacon. Don’t serve bacon in your bird feeders.
Salt. Just like us humans, too much salt is bad for birds.
Avocado. Avocado is high-risk food that you should avoid feeding to birds.
Fruit Pits & Seeds.
Gray sunflower seed hulls are thicker and take a bit more force to open, therefore taking a little more time than the black-seeded types. The black-seeded sunflower variety known as Dove Hybrid comes from a plant that grows to 5 feet tall, with seed heads to 12 inches in diameter.
Black oil sunflower seeds can also be dried and used as healthy snacks full of vitamins E and B6. Best of all, black oil sunflower seeds are easy to plant and grow.
You can leave them right in the flowerbed. To be proactive, gather a few of the ripened seedpods and harvest the seeds. Scatter these seeds wherever you want new plants next year. Many wildflower growers simply wait for the entire bed to go to seed and mow them down, scattering the ripe seeds.
Black-Oil sunflower seed attracts Northern Cardinals, Tufted titmice, Mourning doves, Gray catbirds, Evening grosbeaks, Boat-tailed and Common grackles, Bushtits, House finches, Pine siskins, Black-billed magpies and all species of chickadees, nuthatches, and jays - just to name a few.
There are also contact calls, which birds can use to talk to each other when foraging for food. So I would say yes, birds do talk and communicate where food is, in their own way.