Quality Counts When Attracting Birds

Emily White B.Sc.

Even though warmer weather is here, now is not the time to let your bird feeders go empty. Many of the berries, seeds and other natural foods that birds had this past winter are gone and it will be a while before the next crop is ready. Also, as more birds migrate north, the competition for food increases.

Full feeders during spring and summer months will treat you to the exciting colours and courtship of the mating season. Male and female birds each benefit from the supplemental foods from our backyards during breeding months. Males need additional energy to defend their breeding territories, and females need plenty of food to help produce eggs. Later in the season you may see adults bringing fledglings to the feeder for lessons in making it on their own.

At Featherfields, we are determined to carry the safest possible products for the birds and the environment. Here are some details regarding the safety of our birdseed and what the general growing practices of our seed supplier are.

The sunflower seed in our Mill Creek labeled bags and in our custom Featherfields Feast and Chickadee Picnic blends is grown in Bruce County, the original home of our supplier, Mill Creek Seed Co. They follow a stringent and sometimes difficult crop rotation process that reduces the chance of fungus, disease and insect carryover from year to year. There may be one application of weed spray or grass control, but long before the sunflower buds have started to develop, and does not come in contact with sunflower seed at any time. The glyphosate that is used is neutralized on contact with the soil and does not build up in the soil.

All millet is also grown in Bruce County. The millet has one application of broad leaf weed control at the lowest rate of application long before the flower and seed are set.

To put this in perspective, onions and carrots are sprayed 10-15 times, and apples receive 25 or more chemical sprays per year.

All of our out-of-shell peanuts are “eye rejects” from peanut butter factories in Ontario and Quebec. This is great for us as we are able to purchase a very fresh, human-grade product at a reduced price. We have found that these roasted, skinless peanuts are far more attractive to birds than raw. There are less expensive nuts on the market for bird food but they are quite often deemed bird food grade because of mycotoxin or chemical contamination. We never use these products.

All of the fruit and in-shell peanuts we use are “for human consumption” quality.

The only birdseed grains that would be GMO (genetically modified) would be canola, corn, and wheat. Of these, we never use wheat because it is a very poor birdseed ingredient. Corn has a 50:50 chance of being GMO, and there is about a 90% chance that all canola for human or bird food is GMO.

Overall, we do the best we can to provide the best and safest products for the birds at all times.


Featherfields carries a line of nectar mixes that provide birds with a very close substitute for flower nectar. It is a blend of 3 different sugars plus vitamin C and other added nutrients. No colouring is added in order to avoid any possible harm this additive may cause the birds. The colouring on feeders is more than enough to attract potential dinner guests.

Our Nature’s Garden Party brand of hummingbird nectar or oriole nectar is to be mixed in a 4:1 ratio with water in order to mimic flower nectar as closely as possible. Make sure to boil the mixture for a minute or two and then to allow to cool before filling feeders. Extra nectar may be store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy a great season of summer bird feeding!!!

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