Wild Bird food-
What is the best kind of bird food to buy? Look we have all been to the store to buy food for our friends outside and it’s expensive! Go to a specialty store and you can drop $60 easily for a 50 lb. bag of food (I have a lot of feeders, but it’s good entertainment.) add-in cleaning brushes, extra feeders you have your eye on, bird food scoops, ect.. My point is you don’t want to spend more money feeding the birds than you do yourself! So what are some good types of food?
Safflower is my go-to food of choice for the most part. It’s a bit smaller than a kernel of corn or a sunflower seed, but the shell is harder. I love it because most of the pests in the feeders don’t like it! Squirrels don’t particularly lik3e it, blackbirds, starling, grackles hate it. On the other hand, Cardinals, finches, and chickadees absolutely love it. It’s a great feed to use in your feeders that are not squirrel proof.
I particularly like to watch goldfinches. I love their brilliant yellow and black and their roller-coaster flight path. They love Nyjer. Nyjer is a small black seed grown in Ethiopia and India. Out of all the bird seeds, Nyjer is the most likely to spoil and turn moldy. So, buy in smaller quantities to avoid spoiling.
If you want a food that all birds will be attracted to buy sunflower seeds! Not only do birds love it but it is relatively inexpensive. There are three types of sunflower seeds. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Black oil sunflower is the most popular. Almost all birds go after Black Oil Sunflower. It has higher oil content than other sunflowers and the shell is thinner than other seeds so, easier to eat. Thinner shells mean less of a mess. What birds go after Black Oil Sunflower? Almost all birds go after Black Oil Sunflower. Cardinals, jays, Blackbirds, Starlings, Grackles, Doves, Pigeons, and more. But some of these birds will take over a feeder (Oh, and this is not the type people eat). To avoid that, you can try Safflower Seed as I use, or Striped Sunflower. This is the type of sunflower we eat. It’s shell is thicker so harder for many types of birds to eat except for Cardinals, titmice, nuthatches, and other types of birds.
The third type of sunflower is the hulled sunflower. It is as it is named the hull is taken off so there is just a kernel. The only bird that will not eat this is a bird of prey. Since there are no shells there is no waste, but it is more expensive.
If your aim is to feed larger birds, unshelled Peanut is a popular choice. Not only do the birds go crazy for them but they are full of fat and protein. Only a few types of birds can handle peanuts with the shells on. These would be crows, magpies, grackles, and a few woodpeckers.
Unshelled peanuts attract a much larger population of birds since the shell is no issue. Like I said before the only birds that are not attracted to unshelled peanuts are raptors or birds of prey and hummingbirds. One thing to keep in mind if you serve peanuts on a tray feeder and it rains, the peanuts could spoil.
Millet is mainly for ground-feeding birds such as doves, blackbirds, grackles, and sparrows to name a few. It normally isn’t found alone in bags but used as filler for birdseed mixes. It’s best not to use millet in a tube feeder as many birds will not eat it and it just sits at the bottom of the tube. A tray feeder is best so as birds are feeding in the tray the millet will be kicked to the ground where it will be fed on by ground feeders.
Mealworms can come in two ways. Living or dried. Mealworms are a good replacement for insects and draw birds that eat insects such as bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, wrens, and starlings. Most birds will like the live worms over the dried ones, but it’s cheaper and easier to keep a bag of worms in the shed than a live canister of worms in the refrigerator. So, you may have to combine the live and dried worms initially until the birds become used to eating dried worms.
Corn can be found in two ways, whole kernel corn or cracked corn. Not many birds can Handle whole kernel corn other than crows, ravens, ducks, and jays. You have a good chance of drawing a raccoon, opossum, skunk, or a deer if you are around a wooded area. Cracked corn is eaten by almost all birds as it’s kernels are chopped into smaller pieces. One thing to keep in mind is that House Sparrows can take over a cracked corn feeder. It may be a good idea is if you have more than one feeder, put the cracked corn further away from the house so it will draw the sparrows away from the house.
Suet is the hard fat found around the kidneys and loins of beef and sheep. It provides an outstanding source of energy by supplying the necessary fats and energy. Most suet blends include nuts, grains, fruits, and other ingredients to attract different birds. The most common birds that feed on suet are woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees. European Starlings love suet and will gorge themselves until it is gone. Suet comes in a variety of shapes and sizes according to the type of feeder you buy. For example, one type of suet comes in a rectangular cake, another comes in balls, another comes in plugs with an according to the shaped and sized feeder.
In order to attract hummingbirds and orioles try four parts water to one part sugar. Hummingbirds and Orioles eat a variety of bugs, spiders, gnats, aphids, spiders, caterpillars, and fruit. So, the sugar water compliments their diet nicely.
If you want to try to attract species of birds that don’t normally inhabit your yard. Put out fresh fruit. Bananas, grapes, apples, and if you want to attract orioles cut up oranges. Set the fruit on a tray feeder. Be careful the fruit will attract yellowjackets and bees and when hot thee fruit will spoil quickly. So change out often when the temperature is high.
Dried fruit makes it easier to store. Raisins, cranberries, and currants will attract Robins, waxwings, bluebirds, and mockingbirds love dried fruit.