Wild bird food

Asked March 12, 2018, 3:20 PM EDT

What do you think is the best bird seed for attracting Titmouse, Chickadee, Nuthatch, Cardinal, Downy and Red Bellied Woodpecker? I also want to attract true Sparrows and Juncos. I use niger for Goldfinch, and mostly black oil sunflower and some peanuts, but if I use the mixed bird seed, even the less wanted birds don't seem interested.


Bucks County Pennsylvania birds wild bird seed feeding wild birds

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Mixed bird seed, depending on the constituents of the mix, may contain "fillers" that are of little interest to song birds. If you use seed mixes that contain wheat, hulled oats, rice, milo and rye seed, you will usually see the birds pick through this, throwing these components on the ground and eating what's left.

I personally use sunflower hearts, because it appeals to a wide variety of species, and, because the birds don't have to crack open the shell, they don't create a mess on the ground that can attract unwanted visitors, like rats. They are more expensive than sunflower seeds in the shell, but when you think about it, you're paying for pure sunflower hearts, versus a large percentage of shells that the birds aren't going to eat. I also use various types of suet, which is also popular with many species of birds, including the woodpeckers and nuthatch.

Here's a link to a Penn State Extension webpage that discusses preferred food for all of the species on your list, as well as the best types of feeders for individual species:


Also, if you have a store in your area that specializes in feed and feeders, they are usually a great resource for what birds are currently in the area and what are the most popular feeds for those birds.

Hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert and for feeding your local birds.