Birdseed preferences – I often put out sunflower-seed chips for the birds, but you can attract certain types of birds by offering what they like most. Black oil sunflower seed is the most universally appealing food, Ward Upham of K-State says. “If you are new to the bird-feeding game, make sure there is a high percentage of this seed in your mix,” he says in the Horticulture 2013 newsletter. “White proso millet is second in popularity and is the favorite of dark-eyed juncos and other sparrows as well as the red-winged blackbird.”
Here is a list he gives of bird species and the grains they prefer:
• Cardinal, evening grosbeak and most finch species: sunflower seeds, all types.
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• Rufous-sided towhee: white proso millet.
• Dark-eyed junco: white and red proso millet, canary seed, fine cracked corn.
• Many sparrow species: white and red proso millet.
• Bluejay: peanut kernels and sunflower seeds of all types.
• Chickadee and tufted titmouse: peanut kernels, black-oil and black-striped sunflower
• Red-breasted nuthatch: black-oil and black-striped sunflower seeds.
• Brown thrasher: hulled and black-striped sunflower seeds.
• Red-winged blackbird: white and red proso millet plus German (golden) millet
• Mourning dove: black-oil sunflower seeds, white and red proso plus German (golden) millet.
Starting leeks – While you don’t hear about planting them as much as you do onions, leeks can be similarly started now from seed. Here’s a tip from the Washington Post this week: “Start leek seeds indoors under lights now for planting out in April. In the garden, leeks can be planted six inches apart, allowing a large crop in a small space. They can be harvested young but reach full size by late summer and grow happily through the winter. Seed-starting saves money and broadens the varietal selection, but gardeners can also order leek transplants in late March for early spring planting.”
Family Fun Fair – Botanica’s free Family Fun Fair will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 2. Activities and crafts and admission to the garden will be free.
Talk on Botanica’s anniversary – Janie Lang, a Botanica volunteer and photographer, will show some of the photos she took during Botanica’s 25th-anniversary events last year. Her lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission. Truffles Catering will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for $7.
American roots music – A musician from St. Louis who recently received the Americana Album of the Year by the Independent Music Awards, Pokey LaFarge, will be in concert at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston. His group plays a mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues, and western swing. The concert will be in the arboretum’s Prairie Pavilion overlooking the lake. Reserve tickets by calling 620-327-8127. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children. Refreshments will be for sale during admission.