Millet Bird Seed
by Phyllis Wiggins
(Garrison, North Dakota)
White Proso Millet Bird Seed
What Are The Facts About White Proso Millet Bird Seed?
First: Which Wild Birds Like To Eat It?
White proso millet bird seed is a favourite or a near number one bird food, of many ground feeding birds like Mourning Doves, Carolina Wrens, Dark-eyed Juncos, Eastern & Spotted Towhees, House Finches, Buntings, many types of Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, Tanagers, Pine Siskins, Thrashers, Thrushes, Grouse, Pheasants and Quail.
Some of these birds will come to a feeder on a pole or one that is hung, but some on the list are strictly ground feeders and will enjoy a ground bird feeder
that is regularly stocked with white proso millet.
It can be a problem to feed this well-liked bird food when there are Cowbirds, Grackles, many types of Blackbirds, Starlings and House Sparrows around because they enjoy millet too.
It will be a short feeding feast though, because they will make quick work of a full feeder.
The only answer for such a problem may be to switch to black-oil sunflower in feeders these greedy birds cannot feed from. Learn how to deal with bully-birds here.
What Is The Best Way To Serve Millet, In A Bird Seed Mix Or Just Millet?
When you buy mixed bird seed it usually contains white proso millet, plus many filler grains, that most backyard birds will simply not eat.
Of course, you know where this will end up… on the ground, patio, deck or what ever surface is under the feeder.
I am not a fan of mixed bird seed, unless, it is a high quality mix, packaged by a reputable bird food provider who knows backyard birds.
As shared at the beginning of this article many birds like white millet.
So, why not just feed white millet in a suitable feeder and attract the birds you want to see at that feeder and offer other varieties of bird seed in other appropriate bird feeders.
Question Asked By Phyllis of Garrison, North Dakota
What kind of feeder is best to use with white millet?
The tube feeder I have keeps the big birds out, but when the birds reach into the feeder for a seed, a lot comes out.
I have something under the feeder to catch the seed, but I have to fill the feeder every day, and most of the seed is in the catch tray.
I used to have a feeder that didn't cause this problem, but it wasn't screened to keep the big birds out.
My Lazuli Buntings love to eat millet, and they are so beautiful, I want to keep them coming.
Thank you for asking!
Getting the right feeder to match the bird seed that you want to feed your backyard birds can be tricky.
Millet bird seed can be used in some nyjer feeders that have larger ports.
Nyjer seed is very tiny so the feeders made to dispense this seed have very small openings, which prevents the seed from blowing away.
But some, have slightly larger port holes than others, which are suitable for white proso millet.
You will find a selection of nyjer feeders on my thistle feeder page that may be suitable for millet bird seed. Thistle Feeders
(The triple tube feeder would be a good choice.)
A Homemade Fix
I have an attractive feeder that I fill with black-oil sunflower seed.
The problem with this feeder is the same as you are describing with your millet bird seed feeder that you are presently using.
The port hole in my feeder is very large allowing the seed to pore onto a very narrow ledge.
It works very well and many birds love it, but unfortunately so do the House Sparrows.
They love to shovel the seed, unnecessarily onto the ground.
They will have the feeder empty in 3 – 4 hours!
The fix I came up with for this problem may help you too.
I applied duct tape to the opening, leaving a smaller space only at the bottom of the port, to allow the birds just enough room to pick a seed out.
Before sticking the tape onto the feeder port I cleaned all around the area with rubbing alcohol, which kept the tape stuck flat through wind and rain.
Matching the colour of the duct tape as close as possible to the colour of the feeder will cause the birds less angst that something is different.
This proved to be a good fix.
The feeder now only needs to be refilled every 3 – 4 days instead of 3 - 4 hours and there is a lot less mess on the ground.
I like this type of fix to a bird feeding problem because I like to try many different feeders and if a bird feeder that I have purchased does not work as hoped, then I would rather modify it than discard it and then have to buy a replacement.
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