Birdseed price flies high

March 10, 2009 5:49:24 AM PDT
The estimated one in six Americans who feed wild birds may feel like they're getting their pockets pecked.

Birdseed prices have been fluctuating for months, and the cost of a premium seed imported from India is at an unprecedented high. All this has made hobbyists rethink their backyard buffets.

Nyjer seed - known as "black gold" in the feed industry - is expected to stay abnormally high through the prime bird-feeding season that lasts until the middle of spring. Retail prices have jumped from about $60 per 50-pound bag in December to the current $80 level.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates 53.4 million Americans feed wild birds and spend an average of $84 a year on the hobby. Ardent bird feeders spend much more.

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