Monday, 5 March 2012


There are many species of birds and many types of seeds to suit all their needs. The first step in deciding what is best for you is to identify the birds that are coming to your yard. Once this is done you are ready to target which birds you want to keep around, or other species you may want to attract.

Fortunately many birds share seed preferences. To appeal to the widest variety of birds a pre-mixed blend of many types of seeds is often ideal. As with everything, bulk is the target. Though a 50lbs bag of seed may not be the easiest thing to carry around it is always cheaper to buy big. It is important, to note, when buying in bulk to have a cool dry place to store your seeds. We also recommend transferring your seeds to a metal can to insure that no unwanted diners get into your seed.

The most commonly recommended bird feed is the Black Oil Sunflower seed. This appeals to a wide variety of birds because of it high oil content. This is especially beneficial in the winter because of the high energy levels in the oil. For a cleaner alternative we suggest Hulled Sunflower which is simply the Black Oil Sunflower seeds without the shell. This reduces the mess because the shells are not tossed to the ground by the birds. It also favoured by the birds because it requires little to no effort because there is no shell to crack. This will surely keep them at your feeders!

If you are getting Blue Jays in your yard we strongly recommend Peanuts in a Shell paired with our Peanut Wreath. Blue Jays cannot resist this fun feeder which makes them work a little harder than usual to pull the peanuts out of the coil. If you like watching Blue Jays feed than this feeder should most definitely be on your shopping list!

Sparrows, Mourning Doves, and Junco's all prefer to feed on the ground. For these birds we suggest a pre-mixed blend with lots of Millet, Cut Corn, and Hulled Sunflower. These birds have a harder time with the larger hard shelled seeds.

If you're seeing a lot of Redpolls, Pine Siskin, and Goldfinches in your yard then the best thing you can put out for them in Nyjer. These small black seeds are their favourite!

One thing to always make sure to have out for the birds is Suet. For birds of all types this is the bees knees! You can read up on it in our previous blog post: "Winter Feeding Tip #1 - Suet".  Don't be fooled by the title though, suet is just as good for birds in the Spring and Summer as it is in the Winter!

From left: Black Oil, Striped Sunflower, Hulled Sunflower, Peanut Halves, and Peanuts in a Shell

At the Backyard Birder we carry, year round1, 50lb bags of Black Oil Sunflower, Striped Sunflower, Hulled Sunflower, Peanut Halves, and Peanuts in a shell, and, Nyjer. We also carry 40lb bags of Whole and Cracked Corn. We do, of course, also carry smaller bags ranging from 1lb to 20lbs2. 

In addition to single grains we also have a variety of custom blends which are mixed and bagged in store. We offer a Blue Jay Mix, Chickadee Mix, and a Sparrow Mix which target these specific species. We also have our Special Blend and Backyard Blend which provide a wider variety of seeds. Though there is something for everything in these particular blends, the Backyard Blend favours finches and sparrows. Our mixes are available in 10lb bags or, depending on the mix, 25lb, 30lb, and 40lb bags.

Here is a quick reference guide (that you can print out) of which birds like these common types of seeds and peanuts.

If you have any questions about feeding and the different types of seeds to not hesitate to ask either right here in the comments or on Facebook!

Keep an eye out for our next post on which feeders to match with the different types of feed and which style of feeder the different species favour!

1 Subject to change without notice.
2 Sizes vary by type of seed, not sold on a per pound basis.