In spite of the fact that there are dozens of wild bird foods to choose from, the vast majority Georgians feed their feathered neighbors mixed seed, or black oil sunflower seeds. If you want to expand your feeder menu, consider pecans.
Since pecan meats are loaded with calories, and laden with fat, they are a great alternative food for birds, especially during the winter. In addition, they are popular with many feeder birds. In one study conducted in the Peach State, the nutmeats from a wide variety of nuts were tested to determine which were preferred by birds. The study revealed pecan meats were the second most preferred nutmeats tested. Surprisingly, black walnut meats topped the list.
Pecans can be fed to birds in a number of ways.
Suet containing bits and pieces of suet can be purchased from your favorite bird supply store.
While you can place whole pecans in your feeder, it has been my experience that, if you do so, crows and large birds as well as squirrels will be the only diners that will avail themselves of the nuts.
In an effort to let birds know the nuts are a source of food, some folks crack a large hole in the shell of each pecan. This allows smaller birds access to the meats. However, most folks either simply crush pecan meats into small pieces or buy nutmeats that have already been crushed. If cracked pecan meats are not available at your bird supply shore, they can be purchased at any grocery store. Better yet, if you live near a pecan processing plant, check and see if you can buy either rejected nuts or bit and pieces of nuts there.
As you probably know, pecan meats will get rancid. This problem is particularly acute in warm weather. With this in mind, it is a good idea to store your supply of pecan meats in a freezer.
If you offer your feeder visitors pecan meats the birds most likely to dine of them are Carolina chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, and woodpeckers.