Birdwatching is an exuberant pastime. However, it entails catering to various birds’ individual needs to entice them to the yard and make them stay for long. And food definitely tops the list, black oil sunflower seeds being some fan favorites.
Different birds have different dietary needs and preferences. Satisfying each of them often becomes cumbersome. Nevertheless, the urge to entertain a bunch of bird species in the backyard never liquefies. In such times, bird enthusiasts scout for a food type that diverse species of birds are fond of.
And much to the relief of all birdwatchers, black oil sunflower seed for birds is the one. Apart from being a highly nutritious seed, it has proved to be the common favorite of a wide variety of bird species. If your feeder is stocked with these tiny, wholesome seeds, then more than half the work is done before you enjoy the company of a flock of spunky, winged friends.
What Are Black Oil Sunflower Seeds?
Black oil sunflower seeds for birds are known for their ease of consumption and high nutritional content. It is derived from the sunflower plant, Helianthus annuus, which is also the source of another type of seed, the striped sunflower seeds.
As obvious as it sounds, the black oil sunflower seeds have black husk while the striped sunflower seeds have markings on their husk. Another aspect that distinguishes black oil sunflower seeds from striped sunflower seeds is their thinner shell.
Most birds discard the solid black hull. They feed on the kernel, which is rich in fatty acids like linoleic acid. It is also known to be a storehouse of essential vitamins and essential elements like calcium, potassium, and iron. Black oil sunflower seeds are considered to be beneficial for the winter birds as they are rich in oil which provides them with adequate calories. They also spread the oil over their feathers, using their oil glands to stay warm.
Why do Birds Prefer Black Oil Sunflower Seeds?
Black oil sunflower seeds for birds are a sound feast. Its popularity lies in the convenience it lends to feathered beings. In contrast to the tough hulls of the striped sunflower seeds, the black oil sunflower seeds’ hulls are much thinner.
This implies that most birds find it easier to shell the seeds and reach the kernel, which is the edible part. Besides, the seeds are comparatively smaller, which makes them an excellent choice for small birds.
Birds love black oil sunflower seeds so much that they specifically pick them from a mixture of seeds served to them. Often other kinds of seeds are tossed by them. Experienced birdwatchers have found this to be a wasteful process and have resorted to feeding the bird exclusively with black oil sunflower seeds.
What Kinds of Birds Like Black Oil Sunflower Seeds?
As discussed above, out of all bird seed types, the black oil sunflower seeds for birds are the favorites of your winged companions for the ease with which they can be consumed. Birds from a vast spectrum of variety prefer feeding on black oil sunflower seeds. However, the way they consume the seeds varies depending on their ingestive adaptability.
If you have ever observed Finches, Cardinals, Towhees, Grosbeaks, and Buntings feeding on the seeds, you must be familiar with their ingestive behavior. They chew the seeds open and release the shells from the sides of their beaks. However, they use their tongue to hold on to the kernel and later swallow it.
Other birds like Jays, Starlings, Mourning Doves, Cowbirds are quick eaters. They pick the seeds and gobble them up without bothering much about shelling them. But it has been noticed that these birds do not feed well from tube feeders. Therefore, if you find some of these hovering around your backyard, then make sure to use some other bird seed container to ensure that they eat an adequate number of seeds.
Nuthatches, Chickadees, and Titmice are not capable of chewing by moving their mouth sideways. So, they pick one seed at a time and crack it open on a branch to access the hearts of the seeds, which they can feed on.
Here’s a list of five varieties that are fond of black oil sunflower seeds for birds. Let’s learn about them in a little detail so that next time you find one of these flutterings around your feeder, you won’t have to rack your brain to identify it.
Blue Jays are characterized by their highly appealing lavender plumage. The male and female birds are almost identical, except the male being a little larger. A tuft of feathers forms a prominent crest on the bird’s head which bears a mid-blue shade.
When relaxed, the crest falls flat on the head, but it stands on the head like a crown in times of excitement. The tail, wings, back, and face are white. The legs, eyes, and bill are black. A black stripe runs around the neck and extends to the sides of the head.
To welcome the hungry, squawking birds, install feeders in the shade and proximal to trees or shrubbery where they can comfortably sit and eat. Besides black oil sunflower seeds, which they eat without complaint, they do not mind consuming corn and peanuts.
While choosing the bird seed container, make sure that it does not sway and provides adequate balance and support. Since Blue Jays are incredibly cautious, do not roam around the feeders. Maintain a decent distance and engross yourself as the noisy birds revel in solitude.
Gray Catbirds are easily identifiable. A shade of lead grey covers almost the entire body. The eyes, beak, and legs appear blackish. The top of the head is dark as compared to the rest of the body. If you observe the under-tail coverts, they will appear rusty. The regimes and rectrices are primarily black. But sometimes they are bordered with white. Barring the different breeding behaviors, male and female birds are indistinguishable.
Though black oil sunflower seeds attract Gray Catbirds, they are extremely fond of fruits. So if you are longing to find one in your backyard, start planting fruit trees. Wild blackberries are the most favored since the thorny hedges are suitable for the birds to nest. Wild grapevine is also a good choice.
Installing a birdbath might nudge your feathered friend to live a little longer. Note that the call of Gray Catbirds literally resembles the mewing of a cat. After you have your backyard Gray Catbird, get ready to hear a meow, it might mean the coming of the visitor you have been waiting for!
Pine Siskins are tiny birds that will frequently visit your backyard. They are approximately the same size as American Goldfinches. Their plumage is brown, ranging from darker to lighter shades from the upper to the lower parts of the body.
These little birds are characterized by heavy streaking and notched tails. The bill is conical like other Finches but what sets them apart is their long and slender shape. Their wings and tails often have yellow patches. Sometimes white streaks are also found on the wings.
Like most Finches, Pine Siskins are primarily seed-eating birds, though they also feed on insects like aphids and caterpillars. These tiny creatures are enticed by fresh black oil sunflower seeds, the best bird seed for Finches, and thistle seeds. One thing to remember before inviting the feathered guests is that they love to sit and eat.
Therefore, hanging large tube feeders will facilitate perching for long and comfortably feeding till they are full. Also, Pine Siskins are feisty birds, so placing a water bath would add a touch of exuberance to your backyard as you can’t resist being gleeful seeing a flock of Siskins playfully getting drenched together.
These captivating birds can be easily distinguished based on their gender. Male Cardinals have vibrant crimson-colored plumage. However, towards the lower end of the body, the color appears darker and duller.
A black face mask is seen over the eyes, extending to the upper end of the chest. The females are usually fawn-colored with a tint of red in their wings, tails, and crest, which is common to both genders. The iris is brown, and the legs and feet are brown with a shade of pink. The bills are triangular and strong.
Northern Cardinals are non-migrating birds and are not picky eaters. They love feeding on fruits, insects, and a variety of seeds. However, to attract Cardinals, you can plant a lot of shrubs and fruit trees in your backyards and store a blend of seeds, including black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, cracked corn, sunflower chips in a feeder.
Putting some seeds in a bird seed catcher tray just below the feeder is an excellent way to attract new-timers and direct them towards the feeder. This gives them a sense of security for the availability of food and might motivate them to stay longer. Also, having a fresh source of water will make your yard the Cardinal’s favorite.
Tufted Titmice have a prominent call. The upper part of their body is grey, and the underside is white. Rust-colored flanks outline the sides of their tiny bodies. All birds belonging to this variety have a tuft of feathers on their head, forming a crest. Their foreheads and eyes are black, while their legs are shining grey.
With the onset of winter arrives the time to revel in the presence of these songbirds. They can easily be allured by peanuts and suet and black oil sunflower seeds, which is the best bird seed. Fill your feeders with these, and in some days, you will find one of these flitting around them.
However, if you thoroughly observe them, you will notice that they won’t just perch, pick and swallow the seeds. Tufted Titmice often take one seed and fly to a nearby tree, where they crack open the seeds with their bills by holding them with their feet.
How to Feed Birds Sunflower Seeds
While it is undeniable that black oil sunflower seeds for birds are one of their favorite diets, it has to be kept in mind that an improper way of feeding might turn your visitors off, and they might turn down your offering despite being hungry.
Taking the right steps in this area varies based on the birds you want to attract. If you are interested in multiple housing varieties of birds, then a hopper or tray feeder gets the job done. However, certain birds have unique preferences. While some prefer feeders with support, others enjoy clinging to hanging feeders. A little knowledge of these aspects might give you an added advantage of retaining special kinds of winged companions.
Sprinkling a few seeds on the ground would be great to feed the ground-feeders. However, it is essential to note that most young birds are unaware of shelling the seeds before eating. This results in choking due to the consumption of the whole seed. Therefore, crushing the seeds and placing them on a tray feeder would enhance young birds’ comfort.
Having said this, we can assume that the next time you visit a bird seed store, your pick with your eyes closed would be black oil sunflower seeds for birds. That indeed is a wholesome diet for a wide variety of birds. With sufficient quantities of fatty oils, high-quality proteins, vitamins, and fibers, it serves as a year-round food for the birds.
Besides, no feed can beat black oil sunflower seeds for birds in attracting a diverse flock. So, keep your feeders full of these nutritious seeds to be exalted by colorful, feisty birds.
Amidst all these, it is vital to remember that seeds, when kept in a feeder for long, begin to rot, and their toxicity increases. Feeding on those can be fatal for the birds. Therefore, make sure to clean the feeders at regular intervals or use alternate feeders if possible.
With this article, we are sure that your yard would be vibrant and jostling with these flying beauties! You can set goals to bird-watch after you have placed your black oil sunflower seeds in your backyard and record your results.