For the Birds
For the Birds - Your Guide to Attracting Birds in Your Backyard
home :: bird seed

Different Seed for Different Birds

So you have the right feeder all set up in a nice spot - now all you need is some seed. But before you go grabbing the first bag you see, there are a few things you might want to know about the different types of seeds available.

Black-oil sunflower seeds

This is the best type of seed you can get, and is recommended if you're just starting out. It is probably the most commonly sold seed type and is one of the healthiest as well because of its high fat content. It is also an ideal seed because its thin shell makes it easy to open. This type of seed will attract nearby cardinals, finches, juncos, sparrows, chickadees, and occasionally woodpeckers.

Sunflower hearts

These are the meat of the sunflower seeds, sans shells. While these are pretty expensive, they will attract most every type pf bird, and they're the second best seed next to black-oil sunflower seeds.

Striped sunflower seeds

This seed is most commonly found in mixes, due to its hard shell, generally only large-billed birds can eat these.

Nyjer seeds

Often referred to as "thistle" seed, even though it is not related to North American thistle plants, this seed is commonly used to attract different finches.

Safflower seeds

These seeds attract large-billed birds like cardinals.


This inexpensive grain is often fed to turkeys and ducks and it has been known to attract quail, doves, and sparrows.


This small grain is commonly found in mixes and will attract smaller birds like sparrows.

Some stores will sell peanuts as well for bird feed, but they are often just too hard for most birds to open. Birds prefer certain seeds to others, and if you invest in the better seeds, you're likely to get more birds.

Featured Article

A different feeder for different species
If you want to make your yard into a bird sanctuary, or would just like a few aviary visitors to watch from your window, one of the best things you can do is place a feeder in your yard...