Installing a bird feeder on your property is a great idea if you want to attract birds to your backyard or your garden. If you like sitting out on the porch, installing a feeder is by far one of the best methods to improve the aesthetic appeal of the place.
Who doesn’t like a bunch of different birds tweeting about their garden? If you have a bird feeder, these birds aren’t even going to create a mess on your porch; they will just hang around in that area.
However, while installing a bird feeder is a fun DIY project, or you can easily get a prefabricated feeder and install it on your property, it’s important to know what to put inside the feeder as well.
Not all birds eat the same kind of food, so the first thing you need to understand is that different types of foods are going to attract birds of different types as well.
For instance, if you want bluebirds around your yard, you should consider putting mealworms in your bird feeder. These birds don’t like eating nuts or seeds that most birds are willing to fight over.
On the other hand, there are several bird feed mixes that you can buy, so that’s an option as well. However, before you decide to buy different types of bird seed mixes, it’s important to know the ingredients.
Here are a few types of seeds that you can buy and put in the bird feeder.
1 – Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
The black oil sunflower seeds are perhaps the most popular seed choice for a myriad of different birds. If you buy any kind of birdseed mix, you will notice that these black seeds are definitely added into them.
However, you should know that the oil content is considerably high in these seeds, and it’s one of the reasons why they are loved by so many different birds such as chickadees, sparrows, cardinals, cockatiels, jays, grosbeaks, and even the woodpecker.
This seed is also generally small, so you should know that it’s also an affordable choice. A single bag is going to contain more seeds as compared to the striped sunflower seed, for instance.
If you are really serious about the bird feeding, you can even grow these black oil sunflower seeds on your own. You can easily put these seeds in a wide range of different feeders, including tube feeders, mesh feeders, and hoppers as well.
If you sprinkle the seeds on the ground, ground-feeders are going to enjoy them as well.
2 – Safflower Seed
Then, you have the safflower seed. The safflower seed is a popular seed that is enjoyed by medium and larger songbirds. Safflower is grown all around the globe, so finding the seeds is not going to be a problem.
Even though it looks very similar to a white sunflower seed, it is actually a very different seed. These seeds are loved by doves and cardinals also love to eat them.
Many other birds will also enjoy the safflower seeds if they are not able to find the sunflower seeds. However, one of the things that you should know about the safflower seed is that they are a bit more expensive than sunflower seeds.
As a result, you will only find these in premium mixes, and you will have to spend a bit more money on them. Furthermore, most wild animals generally get a bitter taste from these seeds.
So, if you want to make sure that squirrels remain away from your bird feeder, this is a great idea.
3 – The Striped Sunflower Seed
Just like the black oil seeds, the striped sunflower seed is a great choice because it has high amounts of fat and a high oil content.
The hulls are thicker on these seeds compared to the black oil sunflower seeds, which makes it a bit more difficult for smaller birds that have weaker beaks to break through the hull.
Basically, all of the birds that like the black oil sunflower seeds will prefer eating the striped sunflower seeds. However, you should know that this type of seed is a favorite for grackles and jays. Even cardinals love munching on these seeds.
You can easily offer these seeds in the same way as the black oil sunflower seeds. You can put them in a range of different kinds of feeders and let the birds feed on their own.
4 – Mealworms
Wild birds also love to eat mealworms and other live foods. They are thoroughly enjoyed by blue tits and robins, and even the pied wagtail loves to eat live worms.
They are a natural food and in their habitat, these birds often come to the ground to look for these wriggling insects on the ground.
However, it can be a bit expensive for an ordinary person to buy these mealworms again and again, especially when you consider the shear rate at which these birds consume them.
However, mealworm breeding is a common method, and you can easily grow your own mealworms in a way. On top of that, there are a bunch of different places from where you can buy freeze-dried mealworms.
5 – Nyjer
Nyjer seeds, also known as the thistle seed, is a dark and elongated seed that is easily available in large quantities. This seed is rich in oil and high in fat, and the high-protein content of this seed makes it a very popular choice for birds.
Nyjer seeds aren’t all that expensive either, so you can easily buy them from a local store.
6 – Buy a Bird Mix
The best thing to do is buy a mixture of bird seeds. There are a number of birdseed mixes available in the market, and they are all a fantastic choice for feeding wild birds.
You have to understand that out in the wild, these birds have to forage for long hours before they are able to find a decent amount of feed. By making access to food easier for them, you are saving them a lot of time and effort, and these birds are going to happily return again and again.
What Not to Feed
However, you have to understand that there are a few things that you shouldn’t feed to these wild birds. For instance, salty peanuts are an absolute no-go for wild birds.
Many people don’t think twice before putting salted peanuts in the bird feeder. That’s a bad idea, as it is going to swell after ingestion.
In the same vein, you should also avoid feeding the birds crisps or fried bacon. These are all dry foods that are going to swell over time and could cause serious pain for the birds.
More importantly, you should be very careful about the type of food you are feeding to the birds. Don’t throw moldy or expired food items into the feeder. They can cause fatal damage to the birds!
Desiccated coconut, which may seem like a wise idea at first, should also be completely avoided. Some people soak it before giving it to the birds, but it’s generally recommended that you avoid giving it to them altogether.
Last but definitely not the least, you should completely avoid giving milk to birds. They are not able to digest it, and it could cause a serious upset.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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