Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cajun Birdseed...

Recently in my bird group, there was a discussion of squirrel proofing feeders.  Someone that had a specific model that shuts when the weight of a squirrel hops on - actually killed a bird!  Yikes.  Then someone mentioned you can add cayenne pepper to seed.  Curious, I began to do a little research...and by far, this has been the best recipe: simply 3T of cayenne pepper to every pound of seed.
It is however, not completely squirrel proof.  How it works and why it doesn't bother birds is due to the fact that mammals, not birds, have a strong reaction to pepper.  The squirrels do continue to eat but it definitely does cut their time down considerably.  In a fresh batch, they will feed for a few minutes and then run to a tree rubbing their heads (don't worry, they're fine...and will be back to try again!)

My tip is to put seed out in small batches; the intensity seems to fade the longer the seed mixture stays out in the elements.  I typically mix a large batch in a storage container and spoon out only what I think will be eaten in a day or two.

And proof that it's not bothering my feathered's a few of my regulars:

Juvenile Cardinal
sneaky Grackle
A newbie!  Either a Yellow Warbler or Prothonotary Warbler
And who knows, maybe birds can taste cayenne pepper and like it?  I might be the newest Cajun restaurant on the block!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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