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Attracting Birds with Food Choices

When you put food out for birds, you have a lot of control over what kinds of birds show up in your back yard. Looking for hummingbirds? You´d set out a nectar feeder. Curious about orioles? They love orange halves, stuck to trees. What are the other types of bird food available, and who do they appeal to?

Black Oil Sunflower Seed
Probably THE most popular kind of seed, this is a small sunflower seed that has an easy-open shell. For the most food-per-dollar, get seeds that have been cleaned and don´t include sticks and dirt.


These appeal to chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, and grosbeaks. I´ve even seen downys and finches at this feeder when their primary food is gone.

Thistle
Also called ´niger seed´, thistle is a small, thin, black seed that is hugely popular with finches. Usually a tube feeder with small holes is good for this seed type, for the finches to pick them out one by one.

Peanuts
Not just for squirrels! Jays, juncos, woodpeckers and even chickadees enjoy this high protein and fat diet. Perfect for winter feeding.

Suet
While real suet - animal fat - should only be used in the winter, most ´suets´ sold are mixtures of peanut butter, shortening, and other such ingredients. These can be used year round. Woodpeckers love suet, and nuthatches will often be seen on here as well.


Oranges
Yes, real oranges. Orioles love fresh fruit. Hammer a nail into a tree, and then impale a half-orange on it, fruit side out. You´ll find orioles hanging out that you never knew existed in your area.

Nectar
Hummingbirds love nectar, and will come back to a home which has a steady supply. Be sure to clean the feeder at least weekly, to keep the nectar from getting moldy.

Mealworms
If you don´t mind dealing with the food, this is a great treat for bluebirds, woodpeckers, and robins too! High in protein and perfectly harmless to humans, these are a great way to bring in birds that might normally not stop at feeders.

The Great Bird Seed Experiment - which birds liked what seed!

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