Which Types of Food to Feed Wild Birds

Which Types of Food to Feed Wild Birds

Many avian enthusiasts enjoy placing food outside for wild birds for the purpose of studying the different species while they eat. I have fond memories of my grandmother putting black sunflower seeds outside on her patio to attract cardinals and other avian species to her home. My mom carries on the tradition by placing seed out for her neighborhood blue birds, doves and crows. I am a novice when it comes to feeding outside animals so I decided to find out what types of foods I can give to wild birds. What I've found is that most of them can eat either black sunflower seeds or white millet; however, other food choices are safe such as peanut hearts.

The Virginia Cooperative Extension recommends feeding blue jays black or gray-striped sunflower seeds along with peanut kernels. Cardinals enjoy sunflower seeds of all types and will most likely appear to feed when the day is nearing its end. Purple finches feast on sunflower seeds and kernels while starlings eat peanut hearts and hulled oats, according to Peter T. Bromley and Aelred D. Geis in an article for the Virginia Cooperative Extension titled “Feeding Wild Birds.” Song sparrows eat white along with red proso millet while house sparrows feed on either white proso millet, canary seed or German millet.

 

From what I've learned from my mom and grandmother, what's as important as what you feed the wild birds is where you place your feeder. Keep in mind that an area with a bunch of cats may not suit someone wanting to attract ground feeders such as Song sparrows. Think about putting together a feeder that stands along on a pole to prevent cats from getting access to it. Knowing what to feed your outdoor feathered friends will give you hours of enjoyment when you watch them fly down to your yard.