There’s nothing like the sounds and sights of wild birds to infuse your garden with a unique atmosphere. Their songs, colors, their behaviors and their appreciation for your welcoming them into your space can bring a sense of joy and wellbeing to your backyard making a much more enjoyable place to be in and watch in the daylight hours.
Of course, the term “wild birds” encompasses a wide variety of bird species that you could possibly attract to your garden space and they have variable diets. This is how attracting wild birds differs from having an aviary in your garden, you never know what you’re going to get but they are both lovely and atmospheric in their own ways.
With bird seeds, you are going to appeal to birds that tend to be granivorous in nature whilst if you would like to increase the diversity in your garden you may want to also encourage insects to reside there or grow plants that they like to eat or suitable for collecting parts of for their nesting.
Either way, most birds do prefer to eat grains or at least supplement their diet with them and so a good bird seed mix is just the ticket to making your garden a safe snacking spot for them. So what do you need to look for in a seed mix and what types of seeds do birds like to eat?
What Seeds do Birds Eat?
One of the most popular seeds of birds, in general, are sunflower seeds, they’re what humans consider a superfood as they’re packed with essential proteins, fats, and carbs which is no wonder why birds munch them up.
Sunflower seeds come in two types, striped and black oil. The black oil types are softer shelled and more bird species prefer them. Just be warned that you will find a lot of seed shells around the bird feeding area that you will probably want to sweep up if it’s on a patio to keep it tidy.
Birds tend to love millet and it’s a very common addition to mixed seed bags. Millet is the seeds of various species of grasses that produce these small seeds and it’s because they are small and seem easy to consume.
Peanuts are also consumed by humans due to their very high nutritional value of protein, fats, and vitamins. Many species of birds enjoy snacking on peanuts including crows, jays, titmice, chickadees, and woodpeckers but they also can attract squirrels which some people are not so fond of.
Corn us a more controversial ingredient found in bird seed mixes as it can be affected by something called aflatoxins which are produced by molds that get in corn when it rots. Corn can also be dyed red which means it was treated with pesticides and fungicides when it’s used by farmers for planting so be very aware of this as it can do more harm than good.
This is a seed with a harder shell than most and some birds will avoid it due to the difficulty it poses them. Doves, sparrows, chickadees grosbeaks will eat them but cardinals will favor it. Use a tray feeder to offer the safflower seeds or a hopper feeder to have more chance of attracting cardinals and grosbeaks.
Milo is a favorite seed of some ground feeding birds including quails, curve-billed thrashers and jays and may also be avoided by starlings and sparrows. It’s best offered low to the ground to attract the greatest diversity of birds.
Seeds such as red millet, golden millet, and flax are all used as filler material for bird seed mixes that are not particularly popular among birds. This does mean that it could end up being ignored and essentially going to waste; laying around the feeding area acting as a substrate for bacteria and fungi. Just be sure to keep the feeding area clean and tidy so this doesn’t happen.
Some bird seed mixes also contain fruit in them which will, of course, attract fruit-eating birds or frugivores like woodpeckers. Fruits add a bit more variety into the mix but what is wrong with them? Well, they are prone to going moldy if left uneaten which could propagate illness.
Our Top Picks
Kaytee Wild Bird Food
This wild bird seed mix by Kaytee is probably the best wild bird seed for those who are on a budget and would prefer a lower price option. It is, however, an Amazon add-on item so you will need to spend at least $25 in one order to get the item but it’s a great excuse to get a new feeder or some gardening supplied alongside it.
It’s a great food source for wild birds and has added nutrients and vitamins to ensure their good health throughout the seasons. This mix is formulated to attract species such as cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, mourning doves, juncos, towhees, grosbeaks and more; a great variety of birds visiting your garden can be achieved with this mix!
It’s best used in hopper, platform and the larger varieties of tube feeders for the best results, if used in other types of feeders it may not attract the right birds or it may get stuck in the feeder.
Lyric Bird Seed
This premium bird seed is finely ground to make it easier for birds with smaller and more delicate beaks to be able to consume. Ingredients include peanuts, pistachio, almonds, white millet, sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds; all chopped into small pieces.
The list of ingredients in this mix is impressive and makes it the best bird seed for reducing mess as there’s no corn, red millet or other filler ingredients present that birds would avoid increasing the likelihood of it all being eaten.
It’s even proven to attract bluebirds which usually prefer to eat insects but like the nutty snack that this mix provides. A high variety of other bird species like this food too including woodpeckers, grosbeaks, jays, juncos, chickadees, goldfinches, robins and many more!
Wagner’s Greatest Variety Blend
This product contains a premium mix of black oil and striped sunflower seeds, white millet, red millet, peanut kernels, canary seed, cracked corn and more to give a whole variety of wild birds a feast in your backyard!
The mix can be used with any type of bird feeder and uses the highest quality grains to ensure the sparrows, juncos, and doves receive ample nutrition when they stop by your place for a bite to eat.
Compared to other bird seed mixes on the market, this product is very popular and has a lot of positive reviews but also some negative. It should be brought to your attention that some have claimed the ingredients claim artificial colors are added to some of the seeds, so be aware!
Handy Pantry Organic Birdseed
Handy Pantry also offers a fantastic mix of seeds presented in a bucket and even suggests that birds absolutely love the seeds soaked and sprouted! There are many seedy ingredients added to this mix including red and blue lentils, mung beans, alfalfa, Canadian brown flax seeds and many more.
The company claims that the seeds are certified organic too, providing your feathered guests with a natural and nutritious treat that they won’t find in other bird feeders! This also means the seeds are sure to be devoid of toxins like pesticides and fungicides so you are to be sure you’re not doing them any harm and are actually keeping them healthy.
Morning Song Trail Mix Wild Bird Food
Another well affordable and good value for money bird seed mix is offered by Morning Song. This mix is not as high variety as other product and has in it a composition of peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, chipped sunflower seeds, cracked corn, mixed Feed Nuts and also raisins.
As the product reviews suggest, this feed is particularly great for attracting woodpeckers as they like the nuts and fruit that are provided. It can be used in tube, hopper and platform feeders and actually contains little filler product which is why it’s such good value for money.