Birdseed • Feeding Wild Birds • Bird Feeder Care • Squirrels
Almost all bird species enjoy sunflower seeds. If you are a novice bird feeder, black-oil sunflower seeds are definitely the way to go. While there are many different kinds of sunflower seeds, black-oil sunflower seeds are favored by even very small birds such as sparrows, juncos, and small-billed goldfinches. Black-oil sunflower seeds are very meaty, with 70 percent of each seed being meat.
If you live in a cold climate, black-oil sunflower seeds can help local birds get through a cold, hard winter. Because this variety of sunflower seeds is high in oil and fat, it can help to put a little more meat on the birds' bones. Because so many birds love black-oil sunflower seeds, you can feed it in any way you choose — in hanging feeders, in hoppers, on tables, or on the ground. But the best way to feed this seed is in all those ways! That way, you know the seed is reaching the largest variety of birds. If money isn't too much of an object and you want your seed to last, try sunflower hearts. Hearts are accessible to even the weakest species of birds, and they last more than three times as long as seeds with shells. If you go with hearts, be sure to feed them only from water-proof feeders; they rot in damp weather.
Mixed seed in another staple to a good feeding program. Be sure when you buy your mix that it is appropriate to the region in which you live. Birds in one region will often not like seeds that birds from another do. Sometimes seeds that your region's birds like are mixed in with seeds they don't like, and that causes waste. A good way to avoid this issue is to buy your mixed seed from a feed store, specialty bird store, or hardware store that carries the right mixture of seed types.
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