Everything You Need to Know About Bird Seeds

Birds can be extremely fascinating. That is exactly why studying their behavior is a favorite pastime of so many people. If it is not yours, try observing a few birds in the morning. You’ll soon realize that their behavior patterns are extremely unique and exciting. This article will tell you everything you need to know about bird seeds.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve only recently gotten interested in birds, or you’ve always been passionate about it. Here’s a complete guide on how you can attract birds to your backyard. Everything you will need to know is in this comprehensive guide starting with the types of bird seeds and how they attract birds!

Of course, some specifics might vary according to the region you live in, we’ve tried to keep it as widely applicable as possible. This guide gives you information on what they eat, how they eat, and other safety tips for handling other animals that may be similar. Birds sure are beautiful, but they can be dangerous, so it’s important to know how to safely take care of them.

Types of Bird Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

With sunflower seeds, you have the option of choosing between three common types. They are inexpensive and enjoyed by a wide range of birds. With a quick google search on which birds eat sunflower seeds, you’ll have all the details.

Black-oil sunflower seeds are harvested for their oil content. Humans never consume them. They’re easy to crack and swallow because they are thinner and smaller.

Striped sunflower seeds are larger than black-oil seeds and are the same ones that humans consume, which is why it is slightly more expensive. They’re also a little harder to crack open, which means that if you like delicate birds, it’ll be harder to attract them with these.

Finally, hulled sunflower seeds already have their shells removed. This makes them the most popular amongst birds. They’re a no mess bird seed option if you don’t like the mess birds leave behind since they come without shells!

Safflower Seeds

Safflower seeds are referred to as “miracle seeds”. They are great for those that don’t want squirrels eating up all the food they set out for their birds. These are almost a kind of anti squirrel bird seed. The vast majority of unwanted visitors don’t enjoy safflower, but the birds do.


Whole kernel corn and cackled corn are relatively inexpensive. Not a lot of birds can eat whole kernel corn, so if you want to attract small delicate birds, try the cackled corn. However, corn might attract other visitors to your feeders as well.


Nyjer seeds are common in Ethiopia and India. These will attract Goldfinches because they’re small and easy to eat. Don’t be worried about these seeds growing into weeds because they are sterilized and won’t grow. But make sure they’re fresh! Nyjer seeds spoil quickly and will be avoided by birds if they’re not fresh.


You can either get shelled or unshelled peanuts, but you will be limiting the birds that you attract with unshelled peanuts. Larger birds like Crows, Jays, and Woodpeckers can open them up, but the smaller ones can’t. Shelled peanuts are often ground up and mixed with other bird feed ingredients. All peanuts you buy should be roasted and


The best kind of millet is white proso millet, but it is usually not sold individually. Millet is a part of bird seed mixes and is quite liked by birds.


Mealworms have high fat and protein content. You can either buy them live or dry. If you have a weak stomach, we recommend the dried option. Although, they will prefer the live ones to the dried ones. Live mealworms are not as disgusting as they sound. They come in small plastic containers, and you can keep them in your refrigerator where they’ll go dormant and will survive for months! It sounds weird, but they’re a delicious treat for birds.


The region around the loins and kidneys of beef and sheep are rich in fats known as suet. They provide birds with ample energy and fat, which is very much needed during the winter. Most suet you will buy to feed birds will be blended with a variety of other ingredients like nuts, grains, and fruit. You can buy suet in the form of cakes, balls, nuggets, and plugs.


Fruit can be placed outside and will easily attract many birds. This is a natural food source for them, and it’s effortless for you. You can slice up the fruit into smaller chunks, and maybe you can have half the orange while a little bird eats the other half. You are not simply limited to that, though, because fresh fruit, dried fruit, or jelly are all your plausible options! Just be cautious about the bees!

Sugar Water

Sugar water imitates nectar. The homemade version involves only sugar and water, making it the cheapest and most accessible form of bird feed. But the sugar solution might also attract ants! Since the make-shift nectar will only have carbohydrates, the birds will definitely look somewhere else for other nutrients. If you want your birds to commit and get attached to your backyard, we also recommend you to offer at least one other option from the list above.

Which Type of Bird Seed Should You Buy?

Usually, most people buy bird seed mixes. They contain a variety of nuts, seeds, and fruits that most birds devour. Try to do some research to find out which birds are common in your area. If you want to see rare birds, try to pick those foods that those rare birds specifically enjoy.

In the end, it is all about your personal choice. It depends on how much you want to spend on bird seed and whether or not you want to welcome other guests.

Ingredients to Avoid in Your Bird Seed

There are a few things you should avoid in your bird seed. Manufacturers add them to the mix to increase weight. However, they will not be consumed and will eventually be wasted and make a mess in your garden. Avoid milo, oats, canard seeds, wheat, and other grains. Rice, flax, golden millet, red millet, rapeseed should also be avoided.

Some of these are enjoyed by a minimal number of species, and chances are, you might not be able to attract those due to competition and the way the food web and nesting works in the world of birds.

Avoid mixes that have seeds with husks because they have a tendency to germinate. Make sure you have the non-husk or cracked version of the ingredients so that you can optimize the bird seed.

Some human foods are dangerous for birds to eat. Even though you might be tempted, don’t offer them any bread, whether it is fresh or stale. You might want to recreate what you’ve seen on television, but bread has no nutritional value and can actually harm birds. Chocolate is another toxin that should be avoided, just like with dogs and cats.

Don’t empty your table scraps into your bird feed. Some of the foods may be too processed for birds to be able to digest. They might also attract rats, which is something you definitely don’t want!

How to Attract Birds With Bird Seed?

A huge part of attracting birds is choosing the right kind of feeder. We cover the various different types of feeders later in this article, but we’d just like to mention that you should choose feeders that don’t have sharp edges. Choose a design that allows birds some space, this prevents the bird seed mix from getting spoilt.

You can set up multiple feeders with various mixes placed at different levels to attract a variety of birds. Let them enjoy tier meals in peace. Multiple feeders mean there will be less of a competition and they can enjoy some peaceful time in your backyard. Maybe they’ll return the favor and sing for you!

Along with food, you should also offer them water and refuge. Think about investing in a bird bath. These can be as simple as a large bowl placed outside, but make sure to change the water regularly, or they won’t drink from it!

Why You Should Attract Birds to Your Backyard

Birds Eat Bugs

Keep a bug-free backyard that you and your family can enjoy by attracting birds. If you are able to attract some species of birds, you’ll need to get pest control treatments a lot less often! This not only means saving money, but also less danger of getting harmful chemicals in your food.

They Are Little Pollinators

When birds come and suck the nectar out of flowers in your garden, they pollinate them, which means you might get little fruits!

Controls Garden Weeds

When birds eat tiny seeds off the ground, they prevent unwanted weeds from growing. This means you won’t have to do the regular plucking of weeds in your garden, and also, your existing plants, bushes, and trees will thrive due to less competition.

Wildlife Conservation

Onto bigger things, if your garden makes a safe space, it can become a habitat for birds that are struggling to survive. By providing them with food, you help protect the local habitat.

Learning Opportunities

Seeing and interacting with live birds can be a fun and educational activity for little kids as well as adults.

Meditative Habit

The activities involved in attracting birds, maintaining bird feeders, making your own bird seed mixes, creating a safe space, and simply observing birds are great ways to wind down after busy days. Taking a few minutes in the evening to take care of your birds can bring you a lot of joy and peace.

Types of Bird Feeders

Ground Level

Spreading seeds on the ground mirror the natural feeding patterns for some birds that eat fallen seeds, and it is the easiest way of feeding birds.

Hanging Feeders

Hanging Feeders are hollow cylinders that are usually made of plastic. The birds can see through the hollow cylinders. They have many feeding ports on which birds can perch up and rest for a bit if they have a full stomach. For bird seed mixes with smaller ingredients, feeders will have smaller openings and are better since they will prevent spillage.

Large Hoppers

These have food as well as shelter to offer. If you live in a rainy town and still want to enjoy bird watching, these will prove to be the most fruitful. These decorative bird seed containers also upscale the ambiance of your garden and make it pleasant.

Where to Place Your Bird Feeders?

Make sure to place your feeders away from the reach of any pet cats you or your neighbors might own. You should choose a place that is close to natural shelter like trees or shrubs that birds can hide in if they sense a predator. Placing feeders close to branches or anything that’s sturdy can act as a good jump-off point for squirrels and cats.

If your birds don’t feel safe letting their guard down and eating in your backyard, they won’t show up.

Creating Safe Feeding Environments

Regularly cleaning your bird feeder is essential. They can accumulate droppings and develop mold over time, especially during damp conditions. Scrub your feeders and soak them in a diluted bleach solution for about 10 minutes to clean them. Then wash them with soap and boiling water to make them completely clean and ready to be filled and put out again.

Make sure to attach suction-cup feeders or streamers to your windows to prevent birds from crashing into your windows. You can also attach some form of netting or branching, but if you don’t want to spend money on it, there’s a simpler solution. You can place feeders closer to your windows. That way, when birds lift off, their flight won’t have enough momentum for them to fly in the window’s direction and hurt themselves.

If you don’t want to attract squirrels, deer, bears, and raccoons, try finding bird seed that squirrels won’t eat or fencing your backyard so other animals can’t enter.

Final Words

There are multiple advantages to attracting birds to your backyard. Choosing the right ingredients for your bird seed mix is as important as choosing the right site for placing your bird feeders. This can be a fun activity, like gardening, and sometimes, spotting a bird you’ve never seen before or have been trying to attract for a while can really brighten up your day!


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