Choosing a bird seed type or a blend can be beneficial to both you and the birds in your area. From humming bird food to wild bird food, knowing what you need for your area and what types of birds you wish to attract or deter can play a huge factor in your birding success.
Nothing completes a beautiful landscape better than the sound of chirping birds. It may surprise you that birding is a very popular hobby across the United States, especially on Long Island since the most wildlife any of us see around these parts is the squirrel.
Even though birds can adapt to severe weather and shortages of food, having a bird feeder in your yard during the colder months is sure to get a wide variety of colorful song birds hanging around your house.
Bird Food Types & Their Benefits
Many of you come into Dees and see the huge selection of bird seed we carry but you may not know the benefits of each. Please read on to get a quick education on the different types of bird food. Use this as a guide when deciding on what you want to use in your bird feeder. Also note that there are bird seed blends that combine many individual seeds together to make mixes to attract many different types of birds.
- Black Oil Sunflower: This type of seed has very high oil content. It will attract large birds and small birds due to the thin shell that is easy for them to crack open. Pound for pound this seed is the best bang for your buck.
- Sunflower Kernels: Kernels are the sunflowers without the shells on them. If you want to prevent the mess under your feeder then this is the seed you should use. Kernels will be eaten by all birds.
- Striped Sunflower: These seeds have thicker shells then black oil sunflower and are best to attract the larger birds like Cardinals. The thicker shells will deter some birds but if this is the only seed available, most birds will do what they have to so they can get the kernel.
- Safflower is another great seed with high calorie and oil content. It is an excellent choice when you want to attract Cardinals, Chickadees, Finches, and Sparrows. If you like to feed Doves then this is a great seed.
- One great benefit of safflower is squirrels do not like to eat it.
Hulled Peanuts (Peanuts with the Shell Removed)
Peanuts are packed with high energy calories. Even though they are an excellent feed for the birds anytime of the year, they are especially great for the winter months due to their high fat content. They are a favorite of Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Blue Jays, Cardinals and more. When you are thinking high calories and oil content, it’s hard to top peanuts when it comes to both.
- Hulled peanuts should be used in a peanut feeder or other feeders with large seed ports. They can also be put on a tray/platform feeder.
- Hulled peanuts are also great for feeding squirrels.
Peanuts in the Shell
Peanuts in the shell are loved by Blue Jays, Woodpeckers, and Cardinals. Smaller birds like Chickadees and Nuthatches will also eat peanuts. Peanuts in the shell would best be offered on a tray/platform feeder or in a feeder specifically designed for peanuts. They are also a great source of high energy for squirrels.
Different from thistle, Nyjer is a small seed that packs a big punch. It contains a high oil and calorie content and is a favorite of all Finches and other small birds. Those of us in the biz refer to this seed as “black gold” due to the higher price associated with getting it to market so it is suggested you use a feeder specifically designed with small openings in it so not to spill or waste the seed onto the ground. Ground feeding birds like Juncos and Sparrows will also eat this seed.
Millet is commonly found in bird seed blends. It is an inexpensive form of protein for the backyard birds. Almost all birds will eat it and works equally well in a feeders or on the ground.
An essential of the bird diet as it is high in carbohydrates, fats, and fibers plus also aids in digestion. It is best to use this in a blended mix or alone as a ground feed.
- Attracts Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Woodpeckers.
- Great to feed the squirrels.
- It is important to keep cracked corn dry at all times.
Suet is hardened animal fat that is made into cakes and mixed with bird seed. It is a quick source of high energy and heat for the birds that have very high metabolism.
- Suet is great for the birds 12 months a year. During the winter suet is a great as a supplement for insects which are hard to find in the colder months.
- Suet is enjoyed by all backyard birds. Use a feeder specifically designed to hold the suet cake and you will have a feeder that is very low maintenance.
Bird Seed Blends
Blends of bird seed are mixes of different kinds of seeds. There are different grades depending on what seed is in each blend. Certain blends will contain more of one type of seed to attract a specific type of bird. We can always offer suggestions.
Corn on the Cob
If you can’t beat em, join em. Don’t forget our bushy tail friends. Squirrels have been trying to beat us at this game for years. They are a lot of fun to watch as they try to get at your bird seed. Put some dried corn on the cob on a squirrel feeder and you will watch in amazement for hours at how persistent they can be.
Attracting birds to your yard can bring you and your family closer to nature and hours of enjoyment. Knowing these basics on the differences in bird seed will give you a head start in making your yard a bird haven.