Seeds Pure Seeds for Backyard Birds
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Pure wild bird seed for those who prefer to offer a single type of seed in a feeder. Some feeders such as tube feeders are perfect for sunflower hearts, or if you wish to attract a particular songbird with their favorite foods.
Millet - Offer on platform tray feeders or just scatter on the ground. Millet is a very small seed and not recommended for hopper or tube feeders as it will just fall out and end up on the ground. Millet is a favorite of buntings and doves, so a worthwile food to offer wild birds. Millet attracts: Doves, sparrows and juncos, cardinals, bobwhites, quail, and buntings.
Black Oil Sunflower Seed BOSS - Best offered in hanging tube feeders, platform or hopper bird feeders. Black Oil Sunflower Seed BOSS attracts: Highly attractive bird seed. Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches, house finches, cardinals, grosbeaks and jays. Black oil sunflower seed is considered the best all purpose bird seed to provide for garden songbirds. For those people who only have a single bird feeder, BOSS is the seed of choice. It attracts a wide variety of species to a backyard habitat, has thinner shells than gray striped sunflower seed so the shells create less mess as they rot and blow away faster than the thicker gray striped. Birds also prefer BOSS over gray stripped sunflower seed.
Striped Sunflower Seed - Best offered in hanging tube feeders, platform and hopper feeders. Attracts the same birds as black oil sunflower seed, but most birds seem to prefer black oil. Striped Sunflower Seed attracts: Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches, house finches, cardinals, grosbeaks and jays. Striped Sunflower Seed has a ticker shell than black oil seed does, which is something backyard bird watchers should be aware of. This is important as the shells create more of a mess under bird feeders than BOSS will and require more frequent cleaning. It is less expensive than BOSS.
Nyjer Bird Feeders - Nyjer or thistle feeders are specially made with tiny feeding holes in order to stop the tiny nyjer seed from pouring out. Thistle nyjer seed is a specialty food frequently used in secondary feeding stations. It is favorite of goldfinches as well as purple and house finches, and redpolls. Ground feeding species such as doves, juncos and sparrows also find thistle nyjer attractive and will eat any seed that ends up on the ground so there is very little mess.
Pure wild bird seed for those who prefer to blend their own mixes or offer a single type of seed in a feeder. Some feeders such as tube feeders are perfect for sunflower hearts, or if you wish to attract a particular songbird with their favorite foods, this is the best pace to start. American goldfinch love nyjer seed! Having different feeding stations with exclusive food offerings gives the ability to attract a wide variety of birds and also the chance to provided different species and sizes of birds with the food they think is best.
About Black Oil Sunflower Seed
Our favorite bird seed to offer, and the choice of more species. Black oil sunflower seed is the most crucial seed in any backyard bird feeding program and we consider it the basic stable of our habitat. Nearly all birds that visits a bird feeder will readily eat black oil sunflower seeds, and studies have shown that, given a selection of seeds, more species of birds will prefer black oil sunflower seeds over any other food that is offered.
Hulled Shelled Sunflower Seed, Chips or Hearts - Best offered in hanging tube feeders due to it's smaller size, although may be used on a platform or tray style bird feeder. It will fall easily out of a hopper design bird feeder so is not recommended for hoppers. Sunflower chips will do better in a hopper feeder when added to a mix, however you may find birds digging through the mix and throwing seed on the ground to get to the type of seed they want. A bird may toss a lot of food out of the feeder in an attempt to reach that one chip. Hulled Shelled Sunflower Seed, Chips or Hearts attracts: Woodpeckers, mockingbirds, wrens, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches, house finches, cardinals, grosbeaks, sparrows and jays.
Safflower Seed - Best offered in hanging tube feeders, hopper feeders and platform tray bird feeders. Squirrels commonly will not eat safflower seed so it is used as a food to discourage squirrels and keep them out of bird feeding stations. Safflower Seed attracts: Many of the same birds as black oil sunflower seed but not quite as well. Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches, house finches, grosbeaks, and jays will all eat safflower seed. Cardinals like safflower seed in particular.
The thin shell of the black oil sunflower seed is easily broken by birds, even those with smaller beaks. Black oil sunflower seeds offer more nutrients than any other type of seed you can provide wild birds, there is a higher ratio of nutmeat to shell than other seed types and the quality of protein is among the highest of any plant food known.
The high oil and fat content in black oil sunflower seed furnish much needed instantaneous energy for the birds that eat them. This is of vital importance in winter bird feeding to help keep them warm in freezing temperatures. Also, nutritious black oil sunflower seeds are high in fiber and contain Vitamin E, biotin, choline, thiamin, and zinc.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a study of bird food preferences in 1980, recommending that sunflower seeds be provided to birds all year round, and black oil sunflower seeds are by far the most favorite type by the largest number of bird species. Cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, purple finches and grosbeaks are among the species that demonstrated preference for black oil sunflower seeds in the study. Two species that did not prefer this seed were starlings and tree sparrows.
We as backyard bird watchers, prefer black oil sunflower seed for several reasons. Not only is it a favorite of so many species, but it also has a thinner shell than other seed such as stripped sunflower. We have found in our personal experience that there is far less mess to clean up under a feeder due to the thinner shells. Frankly low maintenance means a lot to us! Black oil can also be offered in any type of seed feeder with the exception of specialty feeders such as nyjer.
Random tidbit: Chickadees and nuthatches are notorious for stashing away black oil sunflower seeds for later eating, commonly under tree bark or other nook, creating their own secret caches of food to get them through the harshest days of the winter. You see them dash to a feeder, grab a single seed and dash back off again. Chickadees even grow additional brain cells for the winter just to keep up with their hiding sites. One study showed that chickadees seemed to know exactly how many seeds were in each cache and would become highly agitated when one or more seeds were taken away in their absence.