Bird Seed and Feed
Black oil sunflower seed: Far and away the favorite seed of most seed-eating birds in our area. If
you feed only one kind of seed, make it this one. Black oil sunflower seeds have a relatively thin shell
that's easy for even small birds like chickadees to crack. They're also available shelled and chopped,
in either a medium or a fine grade, which saves you the trouble of cleaning up hulls from under your
Feed black oil sunflower seeds from a tube feeder, hopper feeder, or platform feeder several feet
above the ground. Fine sunflower chips are sometimes mixed with nyjer seed and fed from a finch
Millet: A small whitish seed that makes up the bulk of many seed mixes, millet is also available
separately. Millet is most appealing to ground-feeding birds like sparrows, juncos, and doves.
Feed millet from a platform feeder near ground level.
Nyjer seed: These tiny black seeds are sometimes called "thistle," though they're actually from a
plant grown in Africa and India. Nyjer seed is required to be sterilized before it enters the country, so it
won't sprout. It is a favorite of goldfinches and other finches.
Feed nyjer seed from a thistle feeder or thistle sack, which has small holes so the seed doesn't spill
out all at once.
Peanuts: Raw and unsalted, available in the shell or shelled. Whole peanuts are most often fed to
squirrels and jays. Shelled peanuts may be fed to squirrels and jays, and are also a favorite of
Feed whole peanuts from a tray feeder or a squirrel feeder well above ground level. Shelled peanuts
may be offered in this way, or from a tube or hopper feeder with large enough openings.
Corn: Available in several different forms: whole kernel, cracked, and dried on the cob. Whole kernel
corn is too large for most back yard birds, but squirrels and jays can handle it just fine. Cracked corn
attracts ground-feeding birds such as sparrows, juncos, towhees, and doves.
Feed whole corn from a platform or hopper feeder, either at ground level or above for squirrels and
jays. Feed corn on the cob from a special corn cob feeder. Cracked corn can be offered from a tray
or hopper near ground level.
Pumpkin seeds: A favorite of squirrels. Feed them from a tray feeder or squirrel feeder
Suet: Made from rendered beef kidney fat, suet is a high-energy food for many different kinds of
birds. It also attracts birds that are less interested in seed, such as woodpeckers and flickers.
Suet may be fed from a platform or tray feeder, or from a wire mesh suet basket.
Meal worms: A treat that's high in protein and fat, meal worms attract insect-eating birds. The ones
we sell are freeze-dried, which are more convenient than storing live ones. Feed mealworms from a
platform or tray feeder, or from a sunflower seed feeder.
Birdseed: Different Kinds, Who Eats It, and How to Serve It