Wild Bird Seed. What Do Your Backyard Birds Want?

There is a large variety of wild bird seed on the market today. The trick is to get the wild bird food that will attract the types of birds you want to see in your backyard.

Different types of bird seed will attract different types of birds to your backyard. We will talk about many of them and other foods as well.

Beyond that though, wouldn't it be helpful to know what wild bird feeders work best for which type of seed or food you are using in your backyard? Just go to that section for any information you may need.

As you can see here goldfinches absolutely love Nyjer seed.

In addition to the proper food and feeders, bird baths and wooden bird houses can attract different types of birds to you as well. Just follow these links to which ever section of our site you want to go to and I feel confident that you will find the help and advise you are looking for.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is bird seed storage. I don't know about you, but when we lived in Minnesota it was a real issue for us. We always kept our wild bird seed in the garage and for the longest time we had not only mice trying to get in there, but squirrels as well.

Squirrels are pesky and smart little creatures to say the least.

Actually they were so persistent they even chewed away the rubber seal on the bottom of the garage door to get in. It was a real challenge for us.

Fun Fact: In the end we did not spend a great deal money on storage containers and neither should you.

A heavy duty rubber garbage can worked just fine for us. Just make sure you get one with handles that push down and lock. The first garbage can we had did not have locking handles and the squirrels actually figured out how to take the top off.

Here are some basic types of wild bird seed:

Sunflower Seed:

There are two basic types of sunflower seeds. They are black oil and striped sunflower seeds. These seeds will attract quite a variety of birds to your backyard. Northern cardinals love this seed. So do nuthatches, finches, goldfinches and chickadees to name a few others.

Black oil seed is a bit more expensive to buy, but it is also very popular with most birds because of it's soft shell. In addition to it's soft shell it has a high fat content which is important to a birds diet, especially in the winter time.

Striped sunflower seeds are a bit cheaper than black oil seeds to buy. It's shell is also a bit thicker so this could make it harder for black birds or house sparrows to eat this seed. However, that may not be a negative to you.

Another option is to get these seeds shelled. Just remember that if you think squirrels love black oil seeds, they really love them shelled.

Just my opinion, but I would not recommend getting sunflower seeds mixed with red millet, oats and other fillers. Although these mixtures may be cheaper to buy, the birds don't like some of the fillers and won't eat them.

These seeds may be served in many types of feeders. You can use a platform feeder, a hopper type feeder, tube feeders with larger holes and window feeders.


This is a larger seed that has a white coating. It is actually sometimes used as a substitute to black oil seed. It has a thicker shell that can be harder for some birds to crack open.

This wild bird seed is a real favorite of the northern cardinal. Some other birds that like it are grosbeaks, chickadees, doves, native sparrows and nuthatches.

Fun Fact: I am told that squirrels actually do not like this type of seed. I will have to keep testing that theory out though to be sure.

This seed may be served in a ground or platform feeder, a tube feeder with larger holes or a hopper feeder. If you want cardinals at your feeders the hopper type would be the best one to use.

Nyjer Seed:

These are tiny black seeds that are loved by goldfinches, purple finches and other finches to name a few. This seed is high in calorie and fat content which is great for the birds in the winter time.

It is best served out of a tube feeder.

White Proso Millet:

This seed is a favorite of the ground feeding birds like quail, native American sparrows, doves, cardinals etc. Black birds and house sparrows like this bird seed as well.

Low set feeders with good drainage would be best for this seed because most of the birds that like it are ground feeding birds. Just make sure the feeder has good drainage.

Hopper and platform feeders can work as well and actually you could put the seed directly on the ground of you wish.

Fun Fact: If you put the seed directly on the ground, only put out what can be consumed in one days time.

Shelled / Cracked Corn

This is a popular seed with cardinals, grosbeaks, pheasants, quail, jays and a host of other birds. The problem is other unwanted creatures also love this seed.

Geese, bears, raccoons and deer to name a few also love this seed. The other problem with this seed is, it could easily be contaminated with aflatoxins which are very toxic to birds even in smaller doses.

I would not buy this wild bird seed if it is stored in a plastic bag nor would I allow it to get wet.

It is best served in a platform feeder and I would offer it in small amounts. Only an amount that can be consumed in one days time.


This is very popular among jays, crows, chickadees, woodpeckers, titmice. Again this is a seed to be careful with since it could harbor aflatoxins as well.

Unwanted creatures like squirrels, bears, raccoons also like this food.

It is best served on a platform feeder or a window feeder

Milo or Sorghum:

This is a favorite of western ground feeding birds like Steller’s Jays, Curve-billed Thrashers and Gambel’s Quails I would scatter this seed on the ground or use ground feeders for it.

Just make sure the ground feeder has good drainage.

Golden Millet, Red Millet, Flax:

These seeds are generally used a fillers like with sunflower seeds. Like I mentioned before I would not buy a wild bird seed mixture that has these seeds in it. Most birds do not like these and they just end up on the ground. Not only is it a waste of seed and money, but if not cleaned up, the uneaten seeds become a breeding ground for bacteria that is not good for your backyard birds that are ground feeders.

In addition to wild bird seed we have information on other types of bird food as well.


In it's purest form this is nothing more than animal fat. Generally you would add additional mixers such as cornmeal, fruit and peanuts and other types of bird seed.

This is a high energy food with a great deal of calories, fat and protein. This is an ideal food for the winter, especially for insect eating birds, because it can replace the protein they miss from the not having the insects.

Woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, jays, wrens, cardinals, goldfinches and bluebirds are attracted to this food.

If you offer this food in the summer you should keep it refrigerated until you are ready to use it. If it is just sitting outside it can get very rancid very quickly.


This food is ideal for hummingbirds. Just follow this link to the hummingbird food section of our site.

Well I hope you found our section on wild bird seed and other wild bird food helpful and informative. Please take some time to browse around the rest of our site as well.

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