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How To Feed The Birds

Veteran bird watchers and novices alike will get some useful
money-saving tips on seed and feeders from a video called Feeding
Birds in Your Backyard
produced by the Kentucky Cooperative
Extension Service.

Nearly 54 million people in the United States annually shell out
almost three billion dollars for bird seed and another eight
hundred million dollars for feeder equipment.

The 15-minute video covers all the essential topics involved in
this national pastime. The program’s theme is that the type of
feed and the size, shape, and location of your feeder will
determine the kinds of birds that you are likely to attract.

“For instance, the small black oil-type sunflower seeds are
preferred by most species and give the bird lover the most product
for the dollar,” says Thomas Barnes, Extension wildlife
specialist in the UK College of Agriculture, who wrote the video

There’s a variety of other feed options that attract more specific
birds. White millet will bring in mourning doves, dark-eyed
juncos, and white-throated sparrows. Suet appeals to wrens,
titmice, and chickadees. Niger seed attracts American goldfinches.

The video discusses the various approaches to attracting and
feeding hummingbirds. These tiny, brightly colored aerial acrobats
need special feeders that mimic the flowers that are their primary
source of food.

Many people who put up bird feeders also end up feeding squirrels
and chipmunks.

“They can cause frequent, persistent problems by monopolizing
the feed supplies, frightening the birds and damaging the
feeders,” says Barnes. “Grey squirrels are arguably the
number-one pest because of their enormous appetites.”

Squirrel controls can take the form of alternative feed sources
such as specialized corncob holders and swings that can make the
feeding process practical and entertaining.

“The bird feeding video will be available in many Kentucky
county Cooperative Extension offices, but individuals desiring
their own VHS copy can order it from the University of Kentucky
College of Agriculture,” says Jeff Franklin, the program’s
producer and a member of the Ag Communications Services Electronic
Media and News section. The tape costs $20. Checks should be made
out to the University of Kentucky and orders can be sent in care
of the Instructional Video Library, 131 Scovell Hall, University
of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546-0064.

– Mark Eclov

Back in time

You can take a trip to the 1950s by visiting the newest
exhibit at the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort. “Front
Page Fifties: Kentucky at Mid-century” tracks Kentucky
versions of the music, sports, fashions, and politics of the

You will see a restored 1957 Cadillac El Dorado, a Cold War-era
bomb shelter, and a jukebox loaded with music from Rosemary
Clooney to the Everly Brothers. Other features include an
interactive living room where you can put a record on the
turntable, spread out on the floor and play a game, and watch The
$64,000 Question
quiz show on TV.

The exhibit also features the big stories from daily newspapers
across the state, covering the Korean War, suburbanization, sports
champions, racial desegregation, and the teen culture.

The “Front Page Fifties” exhibit will be on display
through September 2, 2001.

The Kentucky History Center is located at 100 West Broadway in
downtown Frankfort. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. For a map,
directions, and other information, log on to
or phone (502) 564-1792.

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