Shorten your seed shopping list with this all-time favorite.
By George Harrison, Contributing Editor
If you want to rely on just one type of seed that is most attractive to the greatest number of backyard birds, hands down, sunflower seed is the right pick in any form-in the shell (black-oil or striped) or medium cracked out-of-the shell meats. All forms of sunflower seed are relished by finches, chickadees, nuthatches, grosbeaks, cardinals, jays and even some species of woodpeckers.
There's only one problem with sunflower seed—bully birds, such as blackbirds, European starlings and grackles, also love it, especially if it's served in a tray feeder.
There's a simple solution. Serve sunflower seed from a feeder that allows only the smaller birds to enter the feeding chamber. These feeders are often called "exclusion feeders," with smaller perches, weight mechanisms or fencing to keep the larger birds out.
||Birds It Attracts
|Black oil sunflower
||Northern cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, grosbeaks and jays
|Hulled (cracked) sunflower
||Juncos, doves, sparrows, jays, titmice, American robins, grosbeaks, finches and woodpeckers
||Finches, chickadees and titmice
||Woodpeckers, jays, chickadees, brown creepers and nuthatches
||Northern cardinals, grosbeaks, doves, chickadees and finches
|Wild bird seed mix
||Sparrows, juncos, doves, chickadees, titmice, finches, pigeons, nuthatches and jays
||Hummingbirds and orioles
|Fruit and jelly
||Orioles, catbirds, northern mockingbirds, American robins and tanagers
||Bluebirds, American robins and northern mockingbirds