I know some people use entirely black oil sunflower seed, on the theory
that it is most birds' favorite and that most of the other seed in mixes is
wasted on the ground. I have had success mixing black oil sunflower about
50/50 (by weight) with a good seed mix. "Good" is one that does not list
red millet on the label. Red millet is said to be much less preferred than
white millet (though I have no proof of this myself). "Good" also means
not too much cracked corn, though some species like the corn. Much of the
non-sunflower seed might be shoveled onto the ground by the Blue Jays, but
the Mourning Doves, Juncos, Tree Sparrows, and other ground-feeders will
clean up most of it, so there's not as much waste as you might think.
I also put out a feeder of nyjer seed for the finches. Nyjer does not age
well, so if you put some out for a few weeks and no birds are eating it,
try another brand or at least another store. Nyjer is expensive for this
kind of trial and error approach, but I don't know of a better way.
And I put out a couple of suet cakes for the woodpeckers and nuthatches.
Using both tube feeders and hopper feeders will accommodate different
feeding preferences of different species.
This combination reliably attracts a nice mix of birds at my location --
about 10 to 12 species on a typical weekend Feederwatch count. I typically
have just a few red squirrels, so squirrels are not a big issue for me. If
you need to dissuade squirrels, this mix might need to be adjusted, as
suggested in another post. I usually buy my seed at Tractor Supply, though
Agway might be better and maybe cheaper if you have one nearby (I don't).
Hope that helps!
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2013 11:56:33 -0500
From: Priscilla Douglas <[log in to unmask]>
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Hello, I'm looking for recommendations for people's (and birds'!) favorite
birdseed. Right now I just put out sunflower seeds but the variety of
birds we get is somewhat limited. What do other people put out (and where
do they buy it)?
Thanks for any help.