Gardening · Wildlife

Bird Feeder Gardening

Having flowers grow under your bird feeder adds to the excitement of summer and birdwatching.

I have a mix of sunflower and other seeds in my feeder which hangs next to a Hummingbird feeder. The seeds fall to the ground daily as birds visit and pull out what they want to eat. Some ground feeders, like Mourning Doves, walk the ground beneath my feeder and pick up what dropped.

Some years I have flowers sprouting from the dropped seeds. Others I don’t and I figured out that the mulch in my garden has made the difference.  The homes I lived in surrounded by pinestraw mulch had flower growth; birdfeeders surrounded with mulch other than pinestraw grew nothing. The seeds get caught in the web of pinestraw making it harder for ground feeding birds and squirrels to grab what dropped.  The pine straw allows the seeds a cover so they can germinate.

This year I’m using pine straw in my new house/new garden and I’ve got millet and sunflowers growing up the around the post of my dual shephard’s crook.  Visually appealing, it also provides a new food source for both wild and domestic animals.

My dog, a Lab, has a sensitive stomach. If she doesn’t get the opportunity to graze all day, she can end up needing some greens to settle her stomach. We try to keep her bowl from getting empty; usually 4 small meals a day. And, we try to keep pet grasses available in the yard in case we fail her needs indoors.  She usually goes for a variety of grasses but I recently found her chowing down on millet.

Wild birds will find the sunflowers a great source of food once they bloom out.

I now have just 3 sunflower plants that didn’t get eaten as small plants and each one has several flower heads growing on them. I’ll be tying the stalks to the shephard’s crook before long.

Sunflowers growing around a bird feeder
Sunflowers growing around a bird feeder


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