Yesterday we decided to tally the feeder seed preferences of our bird 
visitors. Since we fill five feeders during the winter, all equally 
accessible in a row hanging from a wire within a span of ten feet, we 
thought it would be a fair test. At one end we have cedar and spruce for 
shelter, at the other our venerable box-elder tree.
In order left to right we have: a tube feeder with safflower seed; a 
tube with nyger(thistle); a "squirrel-proof" hopper with spring-loaded 
perch, filled with sunflower hearts;  a hanging tray with red millet; 
and a raw beef suet feeder in a cage.

Over a period of 30 minutes (10:15 to 10:45am) we had approx. 3 BC 
Chickadees, 2 Titmouse, 2 WB Nuthatches, 1 Hairy and 2 Downy 
woodpeckers, 2 Cardinals, 2 Blue Jays, 2 Goldfinches and 1 Housefinch. 
(We did not try to distinguish individuals in the flurry of feeding 
visits.) One RB Woodpecker did not come down from the tree.

Here is a summary of the results:

Safflower       20 visits total   (7 Chickadee, 10 Titmouse, 3 Housefinch)

Nyger              2            ( one each Chickadee and Goldfinch)

Sun.hearts    54  total    (27 Chickadee, 22 WBNuthatch, 4 Titmouse, 1 

Millet             9              (2 Cardinal, 7 Blue Jay)

Suet               8               (1 Chickadee, 2 Hairy, 5 Downy)

We hope you find this tally entertaining. We find Safflower to be very 
popular with the small birds and ignored by squirrels. Luckily the red 
squirrel was not there to dominate the suet feeder or the millet tray. 
There is a whole saga to relate about making the hopper feeder really 
red-squirrel proof!

Nari & Gin Mistry

*Nari B. Mistry*,
Ithaca, NY
To see my paintings, visit


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