1. DON’T attract unwanted guests.
Inexpensive store-bought seed blends can occasionally attract pesky visitors. They might contain red millet (white proso millet is a better option), wheat or other grain products that are typically used as filler. Avoid those things when creating your own birdseed mix and stick with quality seeds and foods.
2. DO buy supplies in bulk.
If you know you’re going to use a lot of sunflower or safflower seeds while creating your homemade concoctions, buy the supplies in bulk. Membership big-box stores
are great places to stock up and get a decent deal.
3. DON’T create a mess.
There are certain types of seed that are messier than others. Red millet, for example, often gets tossed to the ground by common songbirds, creating an even bigger mess than usual under your feeders. Even though sparrows, doves and cardinals eat millet, it might be a good idea to skip it when customizing your own birdseed.
4. DO create fun shapes.
Combine your homemade seed mix with unflavored gelatin and water, spread it on a cookie sheet and let it chill. Then, form it into shapes like wreaths, stars, hearts or whatever cookie cutters you’ve got on hand.
5. DO experiment.
Watch the birds at your feeders and take note of what they’re eating or what they’re tossing to the ground. Experiment with different blends and foods. For example, try adding softened raisins or dried cranberries to see if you attract a new species. Eventually, you’ll find a couple of winning combinations that your backyard birds will love.
BONUS BACKYARD TIP
Regardless of whether you make or buy seed, store any bulk mixes in a tightly sealed, cool, dark place.
Our Birds & Blooms field editors share their no-fail mixes.
“For a super simple seed combo, just incorporate black oil sunflower seed with cracked corn and plenty of peanuts.” — Tiffany Ertle, Homosassa, Florida
“This blend attracts so many birds—cardinals, blue jays, nuthatches, goldfinches and more! I combine safflower seeds, sunflower seeds, thistle, nuts, raisins and lastly, dried cranberries.” — Kathy Lorigan, Easton, Pennsylvania
“I buy cracked corn and black oil sunflower seed in bulk, store it in large plastic containers and then use an auger to mix the two seeds together as we need it. It saves money and we only have to pay for the seed we want to serve the birds.” — Kathy Eppers, Aledo, Texas