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Different Seeds for Different Birds

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

Try different bird seed blends to attract the birds you want to see and deter the ones you don't.

When it comes to feeding the feathered friends in your yard, all bird seeds are not created equal. Different birds prefer different sizes, shapes and flavors. While tossing down some bird seed is sure to draw a few guests, there's a trick to attracting birds you want to watch.


When it comes to feeding the feathered friends in your yard, all bird seeds are not created equal. Different birds prefer different sizes, shapes and flavors. While tossing down some bird seed is sure to draw a few guests, there's a trick to attracting birds you want to watch.

Bird feeders provide a convenient location for birds to feed and for you to watch them.  Pretty birds, like finches, chickadees and woodpeckers, enjoy visiting feeders. Choose feeders with short perches to discourage large bully birds, like pigeons, grackles and crows.

Learn more about bird species native to your area before putting out seed. Visit the National Bird Feeding Society for excellent resources on which birds to expect and how to attract them. In the meantime, here are some basic tips:

  • Nectar: Attracts hummingbirds. Make your own with this recipe.

  • Sunflower seeds: Attracts a variety of small birds.

  • Safflower seeds: Attracts cardinals, grosbeaks, chickadees and finches. Deters squirrels, grackles, blackbirds and crows.

  • Proso millet: Attracts ground-feeding birds, including quail, doves, sparrows and blackbirds. Works best in the Southwest.

  • Thistle: Attracts finches.

  • Cracked corn: Attracts ground-feeding birds, like sparrows. Will attract deer and other animals when left out.

  • Fruit: Attracts berry-eating birds, including bluebirds, mockingbirds and robins. Oranges attract orioles and tangers.


Experiment with bird food recipes that include your favorite birds' favorite seeds. Mixing the right proportion of different seed types will attract a variety of interesting birds to your feeder.
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