Bluebirds enjoy a bird bath in
Steve & Regina's front yard!
This bath has a thermostatically
- controlled heater built in.
This "Sky Cafe" feeder does a
great job keeping the bird seed
Dry in snowy or rainy weather.
It is a nice, large feeder with
great perch area for Cardinals
and other desirable birds ( like
the finches pictured above!).
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Birds-I-View answers "Frequently Asked Questions"!
BIRD SEED and BIRD FEEDING:
Q. Don’t I need to buy my bird seed in small quantities to assure that I am purchasing
A. No. There is a saying in the Bird Seed Industry that “Seed is only as fresh as the most
recent harvest". Most bird seed ingredients are harvested at about the same time, and only
once per year, so the key factor in keeping seed bug-free and mold-free is to make certain it is
handled properly from harvest to your house, and then proper storage and handling once you
get the seed home. Bird seed (like many other natural seed and grain products) commonly
contains insect eggs when harvested. Eggs in seed can certainly hatch into larvae which in
time will grow into insects. Two things effect the hatching time: The Age of the Seed and
• Age of the Seed: Seed harvested each year will typically be harvested in September &
October and generally available for purchase by the consumer LATE October or after
November 1st. Large, economical quantities of seed are best purchased after November 1st,
most years, purchasing seed from the most recent harvest, and then taking care to store the
seed in a cool, dry place to prevent insect eggs from hatching and to prevent mold. Of course,
it is possible to purchase last year’s harvest of seed in November of the following year, but
you will likely be setting yourself up for insect infestation and mold. Bottom line: purchase
seed from the most recent harvest regardless of the quantity you purchase. (FYI: one of the
reasons Birds-I-View always schedules the "pick up days" for your Audubon Donation
Seed orders after November 1st, is to ensure that you will receive seed from the current
years harvest and not old seed).
• Temperature: The warmer the temperature the sooner insect eggs in seed will hatch
and then turn into bugs. The hatch date can be delayed by keeping the seed in an air
conditioned building or refrigerating the seed. Some people even freeze seed for their birds.
Mold is also a concern at higher temperatures. Moldy seed should NOT be fed to birds. Avoid
purchasing bird seed that is stored in trailers, or barns/sheds, or outdoors even if it is
covered. The bird seed you purchase should be from a temperature controlled environment
and should have been handled with proper temperature controls from harvest until your
Q. What difference does it make if my seed is “clean” or insect-free? Do the birds care?
A. Dirty seed that is NOT moldy will generally not hurt the birds, just your pocket book (the
more dirt, sticks, and foreign matter in your bag of bird seed, the less bird seed you are
actually buying). Also, depending on the type of foreign matter, dirty seed can reduce the shelf
–life of your bird seed by promoting mold growth. Bird seed is a natural, non-food product that
will always have a measure of debris, however, bird seed that has been “double or triple-
cleaned” is a much better value for the consumer.
Insect –infested bird seed is generally safe for bird but realize that the insects in the seed are
there to EAT the bird seed. Many a consumer has been surprised to find “hollow” shells of
bird seed in their storage containers and dusty or sandy material along with the insects. The
birds at your feeder are not interested in the hulls on the bird seed; they want the inside of the
seed- the same part the insects/larvae are consuming.
Q. Should I store my bird seed in an air tight container?
A. Not necessarily. Actually, according to scientists from Landolakes /Purina Mills, air
circulation is actually a good thing. Most bird seed contains enough moisture content to
promote mold if not properly stored and that includes good air circulation. Here are some
Tips for Bird Seed Storage:
• Store seed in the proverbial “cool, dry location”. A container with a loose-fitting lid is a
• Store seed away from sunlight or heat from artificial lights. A sun room or near a radiator
or heat source is a bad location for your bird seed.
• Keep your bird seed container OFF of a concrete floor. Moisture can be transferred in this
situation if the bag is stored directly on the concrete (such as in a basement or garage) or
even if the bag or seed is placed in another container and that is stored directly on the
concrete. Frequently mold will develop on the bottom and sides of the interior of the seed
container when it is stored in this fashion.
If your garage or basement is temperature controlled, a better idea is to store your seed
container elevated on wood or some other material.
• Be aware of how warm your home, garage, or basement gets when you are not there.
Remember, your bird seed is stored in this location continually. Particularly if temperatures
reach 90 degrees or more, your seed is at risk of mold and insect/larvae infestation
Q. How can I prevent unwanted plants from coming up underneath my bird feeders?
A. Feeding the birds in or around your flower or vegetable garden, or near a patio can be a
challenge sometimes, due to “sprouting” seeds. The very best solution for this is to feed only
seeds/ food that have been shelled. (seeds need to be enclosed in their shell covering to
germinate) . Sunflower Hearts ( the sunflower “meat” without the shell) is a favorite food of
perhaps any bird you could hope to see at your feeder! Peanuts and Tree Nuts ( not in their
shells) are other food products that will not germinate if offered to birds. And the “Waste Free”
or “Shell-Free” brands of seed mixes we carry are great to use around gardens, landscaping,
on patios or if you live in an apartment. These products have no messy shells to deal with,
and will not germinate below your feeders.
And Suet products are always great for the birds, anytime of year. At Birds-I-View we have
many great options for feeding suet, including No-Melt Suet, Insect-treat suet, berry & nut suet,
and even “hot pepper” suet to keep the squirrels, raccoons, and opossums from eating the
Q. My Bird Feeder has black stuff growing on it. What should I do?
A. While wild birds are indeed "outside creatures", it is still important to keep your bird
feeders properly cleaned. When we provide a feeding station for wild birds, we are often
encouraging several birds to feed from one spot or food source at once. That is perfectly OK,
(and very enjoyable!) but bear in mind that we need to be responsible about not spreading
disease via a bacteria-filled dirty feeder! We actually have NEW recommendations when it
comes to cleaning feeders & baths. For years we have recommended a solution of Bleach
and water, but we are now satisfied that some of the new Natural Enzyme Cleaning Products
on the market are safer for us, safer for the birds, and actually do a better job of cleaning and
disinfecting, because they are geared to target specific bacteria and organic problems that
can be an issue in feeders and baths. Remember to change seed in feeders if it gets wet
and clumpy. We have terrific cleaning brushes at Birds-I-View to help you clean everything
from tube feeders to platform feeders to fruit feeders! By the way...for your hummingbird
feeders there are specific Enzyme Cleaners that target those "scum lines" that can occur!
Using only 1/4 Cup bleach per gallon of water to clean the hummer feeders every 3-4 weeks
is also effective, but we believe the enzyme cleaners do a much better job.
Q. Do Bluebirds stay in “our” area in the winter or do they migrate south?
A. Well, if “your area” is Mid-Missouri (like ours) then the answer is YES they are here all
winter! As a matter of fact, in much of the U.S. Bluebirds are year-round residents in the
general area in which they nest. Often, however, Bluebirds will “re-locate” for the winter
(sometimes only a mile or less!) to areas with abundant winter food and water sources.
During the winter they prefer areas with plenty of water for bathing and areas that have
perhaps berry-producing shrubs and trees that provide food and shelter from the cold. They
also favor areas of low –cut grass and high perch area (like overhead power lines or a fence
row) where they can perch and search for insects on the ground. Of course, a well-stocked
meal worm feeder is a welcome sight to a Bluebird almost anytime of the year, but can be
particularly attractive when cold & freezing weather makes other food sources less reliable.
We do know bluebirders who have tried for years to have Bluebirds nest in their yard without
success, yet they routinely have flocks of Bluebirds at their heated bird bath in the winter.
Bluebirds are not as territorial in the winter as they are during nesting season, so winter is the
time when you have the opportunity to see large groups of Bluebirds feeding and bathing
together…right outside your window!
Q. When is the best time to put up a Bluebird Box?
A. In Missouri Bluebirds will tend to begin nesting in March or April and average about 3
nestings per season. They also will use the nest boxes to roost inside in the winter to stay
warm. So, even though they may not use the box to nest in until late winter or early spring,
putting up a nest box ( on a metal pole please, to help protect against predators) in the fall or
winter can do much to get a bluebird “committed “ to a nest box for use when nesting season
does roll around. (Just remember to keep the house sparrows out of the box year-round
also). As a dear bluebirder friend of ours has always said “TODAY is the best day to put up a
Q. Is it true that we can see hummingbirds in the winter in Missouri?
A. Although uncommon, Missouri certainly DOES get hummingbirds in the winter. As a matter
of fact, most every winter Jefferson City, MO has one or more documented Rufous
Hummingbirds. Banding Research has shown for 20+ years that some of the varieties of
hummers from the Pacific North West will spend time here in Missouri and sometimes will
even spend the entire winter here or in the south eastern U. S. The "Rufous" Hummingbird is
the most common "wintering hummingbird", however the Calliope, Anna's, Black-chinned,
broad-tailed, Green Violet-ear, and the Allen's hummingbird, have all been documented in
Missouri. Of course the Ruby-throated hummingbird is our resident "summer" hummingbird.
Please call us at 573-638-BIRD(2473) or 888-270-VIEW(8439) if you see ANY hummingbird
after November 1st!!
To find out more about hummingbirds, please check out the following websites:
www.hummingbirdsplus.org or www.hummingbirds.net
This Rose-breasted Grosbeak
is enjoying Safflower seed at
one of our "Sky Cafe " feeders!
Above: This female
frequents our deck for suet!
Below: One of our
favorite ways to feed
Bluebirds ( Year-round
here in Mid-Missouri!) is
with "Bluebird Spiral
Cafe" feeder . Check it
out on our Bluebird
Below, a Chickadee enjoys a
mixture of Sunflower Hearts,
Safflower and Black Oil
A Pine Siskin enjoys some
"Finches Feast" in one of our
favorite Mesh Feeders by one of
our favorite manufacturers
(Aspects) ! Note the small,
slender bill , heavy streaking ,
and yellow on the wing. Watch
for Siskins in Winter throughout
much of the US, as they tend to
nest much to our North.