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What Type Of Bird Foods Attract Certain Birds


Different birds eat different seeds. One of the mainstays for the backyard bird’s stay is the sunflower. However, there are different types of seeds that attract birds. Generally speaking, the mixtures of oats, red millet, and other fillers are not that attractive to the birds and lead to a lot of waste as the birds sort through the mix. You need to decide which type of feeder to use and also which types of seeds to buy for birds. It would be best to always take some time to choose the right seeds for the birds you want to attract. 

Listed below are some of the bird’s seed components that will help you to attract birds. You can get the mixture from the market or can mix it on your own. It is beneficial to do some research and create your mixture for birds you want to attract.

  1. Sunflower seeds
  2. Safflower seeds
  3. White proso millet
  4. Cracked and shelled corn
  5. Peanuts
  6. Suet cakes
  7. Milo or sorghum
  8. Nyjer and thistle

Sunflower Seeds

This is one of the most versatile among all seed types. It attracts a variety of birds to your feeder. One of the most famous bird seeds for the bird feeder is the black oil sunflower seeds. The sunflower oil seed is easier to crack open, so the thin birds such as chickadees open and devour it. It is especially beneficial for birds in winter as the black oil sunflower is a rich source of fats.

Another type of sunflower seed called the striped sunflower seeds has thicker shells suitable for the heavy billed birds such as cardinals. As compared to the black-oil sunflower seeds, it is harder to crack open them. Striped sunflower seeds are a great choice when you don’t want to feed house sparrows and blackbirds.

A few birds that feed on sunflower oil seeds are cardinals, house finches, grosbeaks, pine siskins, woodpeckers, nuthatches, etc., to ensure all hulled seeds are good to go. Still, the hulled seeds are a bit more expensive than the ones with the shells, and also you need to refill the feeder often. 

Safflower Seeds

They have thick shells, so it is hard for some birds to crack open them. But it is a favorite food for the cardinals. Other birds like doves, native sparrows also like to have it. Some of the birds have also developed a taste for it. For cardinal and grosbeak birds, you should prefer hopper feeders. This makes the safflower seeds an excellent choice for the birds.

Some of the birds that enjoy the safflower seeds are- doves, purple finches, cardinals, titmice, etc.

White Proso Millet

The seed of the millet is hard, which eventually makes it less susceptible to rot. This seed is popular among small beaked birds and ground-feeding birds. This is also the favorite of quails, native American sparrows, towhees and juncos, etc. It is advised by the bird specialist not to use millet. Here, the seeds must be spread or scattered on the ground. Set low tray feeders with a good choice of drainage, which can be a good choice for the white millet.

Some of the birds that enjoy millet include- cardinals, native sparrows, quails, juncos, etc.

Cracked And Shelled Corn

Cracked and shelled corn is always a good option for ground-feeding birds and ducks. If the corn gets damp, it can be turned into finely ground corn and can primarily feed the small-beaked bird. The corn rots can quickly become wet, so you must put them into the waterproof feeder or instead put them in small quantities. Cracked corns are favorites of deer and squirrels too. You need to watch for colors of red or pink. That seed can be harmful to the birds as it is infected with a fungicide. So make sure not to use that particular seed.

Some of the birds that cracked corn may attract are goose, jays, pheasants, grosbeaks, pigeons, etc.


Jays and starlings favor peanuts; they may also attract raccoons and squirrels. Make sure to keep the feeders dry and refill them frequently. Try to put only that much that a bird can eat in a day or two. 

Birds that prefer the peanuts are- jays, Carolina wrens, woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, etc.

Suet Cakes

This seed is high in fat and protein. It contains peanut butter and rendered fat which mixes with grains and seeds. You can also purchase pre-designed packages or suet cakes. But if you’re buying it in hot weather, you should be very careful as it may get spoiled quickly. 

Some of the birds that prefer suet cakes are- doves, titmice, wrens, chickadees, woodpeckers, cardinals, nuthatches and goldfinches, etc.  

Milo And Sorghum

It is popular with ground-feeding birds, and in the western states, referred to as milo. It would be best to be careful to attract starlings and cowbirds and must be scattered on the ground. Milo or sorghum attracts birds such as pheasants, doves, Curve-billed Thrashers, stellers jays, etc. There are some birds like stellers, jays, Gambel’s quails that prefer milo to sunflower. 

Nyjer And Thistle

This plant is imported from overseas and is called nyjer and niger. These are tiny black needle-like seeds that are favorites of small finches like American goldfinches, lesser goldfinches, pine siskins, common redpolls and indigo buntings, etc. In North America, invasive thistle plants are the problem, so the suppliers shift from the daisy-like plant for the similar type of tiny, rich seeds. These seeds are high in protein. Birds easily break the shell to get the meat inside; the nyjer is often referred to as the ‘thistle seeds,’ though not being from the thistle family, they grow in Africa and Asia.

These are suitable for small-beaked birds such as finches, and it is mainly for the smaller birds. Nyjer is more expensive than any other seeds as it is the favorite food of most birds.

Some birds attracted to the nyjer feeders are- buntings, goldfinches, pine siskins, redpolls, etc.

Types Of Food

Some bird experts have concluded which food is the best for different birds, which will help you attract the birds you want to your feeders.

  • For quail and pheasants- cracked corn, millet, milo, sunflower hearts are preferred.
  • For Roadrunner- meat scraps, hamburgers, etc., are preferred.
  • For hummingbirds- small insects, sugar solution and plant nectar are preferred.
  • Jays prefer various food such as suet, sunflower seeds, heart cracked corn, peanuts, sugar solution, millet, etc.
  • For crows, magpies, and nutcrackers-they prefer to eat suet, sunflower oil seed, heart citrus, grapes, raisins, mealworms, safflower, etc.
  • Waxwings- these birds prefer berries, chopped fruits, currants, raisins, etc.
  • Warblers prefer to feed on fruits, sugar solutions, chopped nutmeals, mealworms, suet, etc.
  • Towhees and juncos- they prefer millet, sunflower oil seeds, peanuts, and nutmeat, etc.
  • Finches and siskins- they prefer nyjer, sunflower heart, fruit, suet, etc.
  • Sparrows and buntings- these birds prefer black sunflower oil, cracked corn, peanuts, millet, and milo. 


Feeding birds can be fun, and some people may also take it as their interest or hobby. It also helps you to connect with nature and know about different foods for birds. These foods will help you attract the bird of your choice. You need to keep in mind which type of bird you would like to attract, and according to it, you need to buy or prepare the mix to put it in the feeder. Feeders also require proper care and maintenance. Therefore make sure that you clean them whenever it is required.