3 Types of Seeds Birds Love Best

Parts of the following article was featured in Birds and Bloom, April 2017.

You can maximize the traffic at your feeders with popular seeds that keep birds coming back for more.

WBU Feeder


If you’ve just started trying to attract birds to your backyard, you may be unsure about what kind of seed you should pick for your backyard feeders (or even what feeder to start with!). Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with these three basic seed types: nyjer, safflower and sunflower. What kind of seed you should set out depends on what kind of feeder you have and what types of birds you want to attract. Here’s what you need to know to make your backyard more inviting for hungry birds.


NYJER lures finches and chickadees.  It is a tiny black seed that is sometimes called “thistle”.  Here's a Bonus ~  “Bully” birds like Jays, Mockingbirds, Starlings, even Squirrels tend to leave nyjer alone as there really is nothing for them to eat since the seed is so small.  Be careful when purchasing, as nyjer needs to be FRESH.  If not, it will just sit in your feeder and mold.

SAFFLOWER is best for cardinals, grosbeaks, mourning doves and house finches to devour. It may take a while for the birds to get acquainted with this seed, but once they take to it you will find these birds always at your feeders. Here's another Bonus ~ Starlings and squirrels tend to ignore safflower because of the hard seed husk and bitter taste.

SUNFLOWER, this food deserves the No. 1 spot in your yard! We call this the Foundation Feeder.  Sunflower seeds, both in the shell and out-of-shell meats appeal to finches, chickadees, nuthatches, grosbeaks, cardinals, jays and even some woodpeckers. Because sunflower seeds are delicious to so many species, including the undesirable birds, they’re best served in feeders that allow only small songbirds to perch on or enter the feeding chamber, or an adjustable, reliable squirrel proof feeder like the WBU Eliminator.


Now that you’ve picked the seed, it’s time to pick the right feeder!

Tray feeders are flat platforms that attract a variety of seed-eaters. Look for one with holes to allow rain or snow drainage.

Seed Tube feeders and Finch feeders are cylinders with perches and portals for seed (large and small like nyjer). They’re great for small birds, such as finches, chickadees and nuthatches.

Hopper feeders have an enclosed reservoir for seeds that slides food down to the open feeding tray below. Plus, seed stays dry. Woodpeckers, grosbeaks, cardinals and blue jays frequent these feeders.