Budget-Friendly Bird Feeding
With the prices of gas, groceries, and almost everything else rising this year, we’ve had people asking how they can best budget for their bird feeding hobby. Here are some tips that can help:
1. It’s OK to ration seeds. Keeping in mind that our feeders are a beneficial daily supplement to natural diets, not the birds’ sole diet, it’s fine to dole out a limited amount of food instead of keeping feeders full continuously. Even though it may only last a few hours, a scoop or two of food each day, ideally served at a time when you know you can watch, is more beneficial to the birds and enjoyable for you than only filling feeders once a week and then having them sit empty for days.
2. Live outside of Springfield? Take advantage of free shipping. If you are making fewer trips to Springfield to save on gas, you can shop with us between visits by ordering from our MyWBU online store. Free shipping on orders over $75 and only a flat $7.99 for smaller orders. This applies to most of downstate Illinois, with a small up-charge to farther locations. Each order is packed with care by the same staff you see in the store. (Daily Savings Club members: If you are new to MyWBU, be sure to register using your same email address at which you receive our newsletters as this will also link your discounts to your orders.) https://order.wbu.com/springfieldil
3. Use no-shell blends. In traditional (with shell) blends, the shells themselves can make up to 50% of the weight of the bag, and since birds don’t eat shells, that’s waste you are paying for. While no-shell seeds, like our No-Mess Blends and Sunflower Chips cost slightly more per bag than traditional seeds, you are getting almost twice the actual food, making them the best value, plus you have no debris in your landscape. That said, if a bag of one of our with-shell blends is best for your budget on any given day, you're still getting a solid blend with no filler grains (see #6). See the lineup of all our blends: https://springfieldil.wbu.com/our-bird-seed-blends
4. Protect your foods. Use appropriate baffles, guards, or hot pepper foods to prevent squirrels, raccoons, or blackbirds from eating your foods. This alone will save a lot of money. See tips in the various articles on our web site. Use weather guards to keep rain from damaging foods. https://springfieldil.wbu.com/stopping-blackbirds-and-starlings
5. Use targeted foods. Let us help you select the seeds/seed blends that are most targeted for the birds you want to feed. Using several very specific foods can prevent feeders from being overtaken by ALL the birds. For example, safflower is enjoyed by cardinals, but not by blackbirds. Sunflower chips or No-Mess Plus will attract fewer house sparrows than a blend with millet in it. There are many more examples, so stop by and ask us.
In the same vein, you may choose to buy a 20 pound bag of the seed you use most, and supplement for variety with smaller bags of specialty foods, rather than buying all big bags. Most of our seeds come in 5, 10, and 20 pound bags.
6. Don’t fall for junk seed. Sure, the price of that discount store blend may look good up front, but those bags can contain as much as 90% filler grains like milo (the reddish-orange grain in this photo), wheat, oats, which songbirds in our area don’t eat. Even with specialty foods like finch blends, we commonly see large amounts of millet added just because it's small enough to fit through the small holes in finch feeders, but finches don't even eat millet, so it's completely wasted.
All these filler seeds are money thrown on the ground as birds kick through it and will result in lots of weeds later. No savings at all!
7. Use seed cylinders. Because cylinders are denser and make birds work a bit for their food, they tend to weed out the lazier birds (i.e. not as many house sparrows). Selective flavors or protective cages can stop starlings or squirrels.
8. Join our Daily Savings Club. Save 15% on all your bird food all year long, plus earn a $10 Bird Buck voucher to use on anything in the store each time you accrue $200 in spending on anything in the store. See more details here https://springfieldil.wbu.com/daily-savings-club