Wild Bird Food
There are various types of wild bird seed that will attract different species of birds to your yard. The seed that attracts the widest variety of birds for most backyard bird feeders, is sunflower. Other varieties of seed can help attract different types of birds to round out your backyard visitors. These include black oil sunflower seeds, safflower, nyjer or thistle, cracked corn, peanuts, and milo or a premium type of mix with some of these ingredients and other things added such as fruit. However, there are other cheaper mixes that contain red millet, oats, and other “fillers” and are not attractive to most birds. This leads to a lot of waste as the birds sort through the mix. So you should always check the label on the bag for the ingredients to make sure you are getting the best type of bird seed.
Below I have listed the different types of bird seed that is out there and with it the species of birds that will eat it:
Types of Wild Bird Food
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds is considered the number 1 choice to feed and attract the greatest variety of birds to your feeders. It gives the birds the energy they need to live. The thin shell makes it an easy bird seed to open, even for the smaller birds. The most common birds that will eat this seed are the Sparrows, Finches, Redpolls, Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Titmice, Chickadees, Buntings, Sparrows, Juncos, Towhees, Robins, Creepers, Bluebirds, Thrushes, and Doves. Woodpeckers will also dine on this type of seed but prefer insects, acorns, nuts, fruit, sap, berries, pine seeds and suet. There is also a striped sunflower that you can buy and is a cheaper alternative. My husband and I prefer the “oilers” as we call it because the birds prefer it over the striped sunflower.
Safflower Seed is a favorite seed of the Northern Cardinal. House Finches and Mourning Doves will also feed on this type as well as Grosbeaks, Bluejays, Chickadees, Doves, Sparrows, Buntings, Titmice, Chickadees, and Starlings. Squirrels don’t like this and will not eat it and that is a good thing.
Thistle Seed or Nyjer Seed which is the same thing is a finch favorite. Goldfinches, Purple Finches and even Mourning Doves will eat this seed. However, Nuthatches, Redpolls, Indigo Buntings, and Pine Siskens will also dine on it.
Millet is a seed used for the ground feeders such as Sparrows,Doves, Towhees, Juncos, and Cardinals, Quail, Cowbirds, Blackbirds, and House Sparrows.
Cracked Corn attracts Cardinals, Starlings, Cowbirds, Jays,Crows, Grosbeaks, Blackbirds, Bluejays, and Pigeons. This is not my favorite to have in the feeders as I do not like to have the Starlings, Blackbirds, and Cowbirds at my feeders as they come in huge flocks and eat up all the food.
Peanuts attract Bluejays, Woodpeckers, Crows, Titmice, Chickadees, Buntings, Magpies, and Stellars Jays.
Regular shelled peanuts attract Bluejays. Put some on your deck railing or platform and watch them come in and collect them. Very fun to watch!
Milo, also called sorghum is a large and bulky seed and less expensive. However, it is less appealing to most bird species. Very few birds will eat milo, though it is a favorite food for doves, wild turkeys.
Premium Mix Bird Food has a mix with most or all of the above seeds mentioned. Included with that are different fruits, raisins, nuts, and also corn if you choose. I personally make sure that there is no corn in the mix as I do not like all of the cowbirds and blackbirds coming in to the feeders too. They still might but without the corn it is less likely.
OTHER TYPES OF WILD BIRD FOOD
Suet can consist of fat, seeds, fruit, nuts, and insects. It comes in ball form or cake form or can be made into just about any shape to feed the birds. It is good food for most birds in the winter to help store depleted nutrients and energy. In spring it is good for increased energy in nesting birds. In summer it is good for insect eating birds especially if insects are not plentiful. In fall, it helps birds store up energy to help prepare for migration.
Hummingbirds will eat insects that hummers eat the insects that are attracted to the juices of ripe and over-ripe . They will also like nectar which is found in a variety of flowers but you can also make it and put it in a nectar feeder. Below is the recipe:
- Mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water and bring to a boil to kill any bacteria or mold present.
- Cool and fill feeder.
- Extra sugar water may be stored in a refrigerator.
- Red dye should not be added.
You can use the same recipe for Hummingbirds to attract Orioles or you can use a feeder that you can put nectar, jelly, orange halves, or mealworms.
Orioles like oranges but so do Catbirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Thrashers, and Tanagers. All of these birds are a delight to be able to get to your feeder.
Flycatchers, Phoebes, Tanagers, and Warblers all like meal worms that you can purchase dried in your local bird store. We use meal worms mainly in the spring time when the birds are migrating through.
This is a list of the types of the most common wild bird food that you can buy. Choose the type of seed that will attract the species that you want to dine at your feeders in your yard. If you are getting a bird seed mix be sure to check the ingredients on the label. You do not want to get mixes with fillers such as oats or milo which the birds will not eat and just end up being a waste.
If you have any comments about these types of seeds and how they work for you at your birdfeeders, I would love to hear from you. See the comment box below.