One of our projects to help reduce the amount of outside home maintenance was ripping out six under-performing knockout rose bushes and growing grass in their ten-foot-diameter mulched circle. We always dread growing grass and keeping the birds from getting too large a share of the seed. The solution was to throw down the seed and cover it with a thin layer of mushroom compost. Never saw a bird poking around and with the help of plenty of timely rain, the grass took root better than ever before. While the link below is from Lowes, we bought our bags at Home Depot, in case you go looking.
Big shout out to my brother-in-law Albert for this grass-growing tip!