Foods for the Birds

Thu. Nov. 12, 2020

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Foods for the Birds

There’s nothing like calming your spirit after a slushy, bumper to bumper ride home than watching the brilliant Red Cardinal feasting on bird food out your window.   Bird Notes from Cornell U’s Ornithology lab is a great read on feeding birds.

Cedar waxwings eating the berries off my Honeysuckle

For your enjoyment, make sure you locate the bird feeders where you can see them keeping in mind that birds want to feel safe.  So an area that will provide quick cover should they need it will keep the birds coming back.

Can you count how many cardinals are at the feeder?

For ground feeders, put down seed in more open areas so predators don’t have cover.

notice the 2 cardinals up in the tree at the top of the photo

The hands down favorite seed for attracting the most variety of birds are Black Sunflower seeds, they’re more oily, meatier, easier to crack and cheaper than the black and white variety.

Niger seed aka Nyjer is more expensive but the goldfinches love it! The oil in the seed provides good fat for the finches and sparrows.

Another favorite is Safflower seed. One reason I like it is that squirrels DON’T, well not so much anyway. Neither do Starlings or Blue Jays, who will stuff themselves. Safflower seed is a popular choice for cardinals, chickadees and downy woodpeckers.  Safflower seeds and the birds who eat them by The Spruce.

Suet is another great food for blue jays, woodpeckers, purple finches and nuthatches.

suet feeder

Keep the bird feeders clean. If there’s been a wet snow and your feeders aren’t covered, be sure to clean out any moldy seeds.  Top 10 foods for Winter Bird feeding by Birders Digest

Don’t forget the loud-mouthed Blue Jay! They love peanuts – not the kind from the grocery store!