Among the most often-asked questions heard at birdfeeding.org is, "Is baking bird seed to stop sprouting when it falls to the ground a good idea?"
birdfeeding.org simply does not recommend baking seed because it may change the value of its nutritional content, which defeats the purpose of using it in the first place.
According to Karen Burns at ETO Sterilization, Inc., in heat treatment experiments, conventional baking of sunflower seeds did not stop its germination.
Dave Dornacker at the Knight Seed Company added, "Sunflower seeds will dry out in the oven, and in the microwave all the oil that runs out will make a mess."
Time favors sprouting seeds. If the birds don't eat what you put out fast enough, what falls to the ground will germinate.
Inexpensive seed, packaged with lots of filler such as milo that many birds do not eat, often gets kicked out of the feeder. But the ground feeding birds won't eat it either.
Adequate trays placed underneath all your feeders will minimize waste as well as the problem of sprouting weeds. There are wonderful attachments available for almost every kind of feeder.
birdfeeding.org suggests using a reasonable amount of packaged seed in an appropriate feeder fitted with a tray.
Another way to minimize the damage from falling sunflower seed is to make a bird feeding area. If your concern is killing the lawn then place
patio blocks around your feeder to decorate the area and keep seed off the lawn. Of course if there's anything left over after the ground feeding birds have visited, get out your rake -- or your shop vacuum.
Offering a variety of types of seed is another solution. Nyjer seed attracts a variety of birds and doesn't germinate. A special Finch Feeder will have
to be used as the seed is very tiny. The husk will fall to the ground and need to be cleaned. But nyjer seed is steril.
But maybe noted wild life biologist Scott Shalaway, who agrees with birdfeeding.org's position, said it best: "Baking bird seed is just another step that makes enjoying backyard birds a bit more complicated."