CHOOSING THE RIGHT SONGBIRD FOOD

Bird watching is one of the most enjoyable pastimes of winter, and choosing the right food is a key to good bird watching. Some homeowners may want to focus on watching the strikingly colored woodpecker, whereas others may revel in the sights and sounds of the chipper chickadee. Knowing what to feed birds will help birders attract the preferred birds to their yard.

Pemaquid Watershed Association (PWA) is holding its midwinter sale featuring the most common types of commercially produced bird food, including sunflower seed (black oil, striped, and hearts or “meaties”), thistle seed, mixed feed, and suet. Virtually all the year-round songbirds in Maine eat sunflower seeds, including chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmice, mourning doves, and bluejays. Thistle seed, also known as Niger seed, is eagerly consumed by all the small finches, pine siskins, and redpolls. Wrens, cowbirds, starlings, and sparrows enjoy eating mixed feed, which contains a combination of sunflower seeds, peanuts, cracked corn, and white millet. Suet, which is a bird food made from the solid white fat found around the kidneys and loins of beef, sheep, and other animals, makes a great high-energy diet supplement for insect-eating birds such as woodpeckers during the winter when insects are harder to find.

Order forms may be obtained by contacting the PWA office at 563-2196, info@pemaquidwatershed.org, or stopping in weekdays at the PWA office in downtown Damariscotta above Salt Bay Café. Order forms also can be downloaded from this site. The order deadline is Thursday, January 21, and the pickup day is Saturday, February 6, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at Lincoln County Publishing, which is on Mills Rd in Newcastle next to the post office. 100% of the proceeds from this sale will benefit the Pemaquid Watershed Association.

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