What Kind of Birdseed Should You
The most important element is the type of food
offered. Choosing the proper mix of seeds can help attract the birds
you want, and discourage those you donít. Different birds prefer
different types of seeds, but the widest variety of food sources
will ensure the widest variety of birds. What kind of birdseed
should you use?
Black-oil sunflower seed: this
high-energy food is preferred by the widest variety of species.
White Millet: ground-feeding species, such as
sparrows and juncos, are attracted to white millet.
milo: some western species, including jays, prefer red milo.
Whole kernel corn: a favorite food for jays, pigeons
and doves, quail and pheasants.
Cracked corn: easier
to eat for blackbirds, finches and sparrows
seed: this is best sprinkled on the ground or onto platform
Niger: also known as thistle seed attracts
small finches such as goldfinches, siskins, and redpolls.
Safflower: this seed is typically more expensive than
sunflower and attracts many birds, specifically cardinals.
Suet: woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, and
nuthatches all enjoy suet.
Fruits: raisins, bananas,
currants, and sliced apples may attract mockingbirds, robins,
bluebirds, and waxwings. Oranges are a favorite with orioles.
How to match the right food with the right feeder
for the birds in your backyard:
Serve any kind of
seed in a platform feeder. Use a little everyday, adding more
as the seed is eaten. This will attract towhees, juncos, bobwhites,
grosbeaks, sparrows, finches, pine siskins, redpolls, woodpeckers,
doves, starlings, and red-winged blackbirds.
seed, black oil sunflower seed, sunflower hearts or chips in a
tubular feeder to attract chickadees, goldfinches, purple and
house finches, nuthatches, titmice, pine siskins.
mixed seed, cracked corn, sunflower and safflower in a hopper
feeder to attract cardinals, jays, grosbeaks, various sparrows,
purple and house finches, nuthatches.
Serve sunflower and
peanut pieces during the winter, change to a nectar window
feeder in the spring to attract chickadees, cardinals, titmice,
finches and hummingbirds.
Serve suet in a suet feeder
to attract woodpeckers, mockingbirds, nuthatches, titmice, and
To serve nectar in a nectar feeder, combine
one part sugar to four parts water. Boil then cool to air
temperature. Use only white granulated sugar. It is not necessary to
add red food coloring. Every two to three days thoroughly clean the
feeder with hot water and change the solution. Hang in the shade, if
possible. Hummingbirds are first attracted to flowers in your yard
and then may find your feeder. The best way to attract orioles is to
put out some orange halves early in the
Basics | Seed
Preferences | Feeder