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How To Choose Bird Seed

How To Choose Bird Seed

By Duncraft
Photographs courtesy of Duncraft

With all the bird seed choices bird lovers have these days, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to buy. First, start your seed journey with the healthiest, nutrient-rich seed you can find. Many seeds on the market are of inferior quality loaded with fillers, debris or just not fresh. Birds will not consume a good portion of these products and you might find much is flicked to the ground and wasted. Better quality seed attracts more birds to your yard, keeps them returning year-round and saves money in waste.

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When trying to decide which variety of seed to buy it really comes down to this: What birds do you most want to attract? Some people want all the birds, some people only want to feed smaller birds, while others want to keep pigeons and starlings away. Here’s a rundown of many different seeds available—and what birds are most attracted by them. Most people prefer to offer a blend of seeds to attract the greatest variety of birds. After you review the seeds separately, you’ll have a better idea of the seeds to look for in a mix or blend.

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Black Oil Sunflower Seed

By far the most popular of all the bird seeds and the one seed accepted by all seed-eating birds. Black oil seeds have a soft shell and are easy for birds such as chickadees and titmice to open. They also have a high oil content which provides calories and energy all year long. Black oil sunflower seeds are also available as whole “hearts” which are the seed meat with the shells removed, or “chips” which are small bits of hearts. If you want to offer only one seed, it should be black oil sunflower seed. Expect to attract chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, woodpeckers, grosbeaks, cardinals, finches and more.

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Striped Sunflower Seed

Striped sunflower seeds are a large seed with black or gray stripes. They don’t have as high an oil content as black oil seeds and they’re harder for small birds to open. However, birds with beaks designed to eat big seeds, such as goldfinches, cardinals and grosbeaks enjoy the striped seeds as much as black oil sunflower seeds.

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Nyjer Seed

Nyjer seed is often served alone in special feeders that hold these tiny seeds without allowing them to fall out. However, Nyjer can also be found in some mixes as well. Nyjer seeds are also a high-oil seed and are especially loved by finches such as goldfinches, redpolls, pine siskin, house and purple finches.

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Safflower Seed

Sometimes offered alone to deter squirrels, safflower seed is particularly enjoyed by cardinals, but will also be eaten by grosbeaks, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, mourning doves and buntings.

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Cracked Corn

Small pieces of corn are included in many mixes or can be purchased separately. The birds it’s most likely to attract are doves, sparrows, towhees, blackbirds, grackles and jays as well as larger birds such as turkeys, pheasants and quail.

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Peanuts are high in oils and very nutritious for birds. They can be offered as bits, shelled or even whole peanuts. There are also special feeders that hold peanut halves and whole peanuts. Expect to attract jays, woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and more.

Bird Seed Blends

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No-Waste Blends

We’ve created many custom seed blends and field-tested them to attract a wide variety of birds. Many customers swear by our No-Waste Seed Blends. These blends are 100% edible with no shells, so there is nothing to clean, and nothing is wasted.

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Custom Seed Blends

Many customers enjoying serving our custom seed blends. These mixes are created to attract specific birds such as woodpeckers, cardinals or insect-lovers.

In addition to seeds, many mixes include tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans and pistachios, as well as fruit bits such as dried blueberries and cranberries. Experiment with different seeds and mixes and have fun feeding the birds!

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