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Choosing the Right Seed

Photo Group
Good Diversity
Photo by: 
Jim Braddock

So who prefers which seed? The list below is purely an overall preference of seeds.

Black Oil Sunflower is easily the most widely accepted seed. If you only want to feed one seed, this is your choice. The only drawback to this seed is the abundance of hulls that will accumulate under your feeders. Choice Birds Attracted: Cardinals, Chickadees, Titmice, Nuthatches, Finches

Striped Sunflower is less used because of its size and cost but it is a favorite of some of the larger seed eaters. Cardinals, Grosbeaks

Sunflower Hearts are the parts of sunflower that the birds are after. This is a great choice if you do not want seed build up under your feeders. Cardinals, Chickadees, Titmice, Nuthatches, Finches

Safflower is famous more for what doesn’t eat it than what does. Squirrels don’t like its bitter taste but birds don’t mind it. Choice Birds Attracted:Cardinals, House Finches

Peanuts and Mixed Nuts are presented in a couple of different ways. Peanuts in the shell are great in a tray feeder for Blue Jays while shelled peanuts work great in a wire mesh feeder for tree clinging birds. Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Titmice, Nuthatches

Sunflower Chips are the hearts of sunflowers chopped up fine. They work best in a finch feeder (either by themselves or mixed with nyjer). Goldfinches, Chickadees, Titmice, Nuthatches Woodpeckers

Nyjer, also incorrectly known as thistle is best known for attracting Goldfinches. It certainly is good for that but is not as nutritionally valuable as chips. Choice Birds Attracted: American Goldfinch, Pine Siskins, Purple Finches

Millet has a bad reputation as a waste seed. While it will often be the last seed left in a feeder, that is because the birds who prefer it are ground feeders. Millet should be fed via a ground tray or right on the ground near a bush. Juncos, White-throated Sparrows (really all sparrows), Dove.

Milo & Cracked Corn are truly inexpensive fillers in cheaper blends of bird seed. Neither are preferred foods for birds of our area but will be eaten by Dove & Quail.

Fruits are often added to premium mixes to offer variety and may attract such fruit lovers as Mockingbirds, Robins and Cedar Waxwings

By Mark McKellar

Fall 2002