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Birds Guide

Bird food

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Bird food is food (often varieties of seeds) eaten by birds. Humans generally make or buy bird food to feed to pet birds or use in birdfeeders. The choice of what to use as birdfood depends on the species of bird being fed.


Bird seeds

Black sunflower seeds are highly recommended for use in bird feeders because they attract a wide variety of birds, have a high ratio of meat to shell, and are high in fat content.[1][2] Other common birdseeds include niger, a favorite of goldfinches, millet for sparrows and juncos, and safflower for cardinals, among others.[1][2]

Non-seed birdfood

Bushtits eating suet from a bird feeder
Bushtits eating suet from a bird feeder

Not all birds eat seeds. Suet (beef or mutton fat) is recommended for insect-eating birds like nuthatches and woodpeckers.[1] Nectar (essentially sugar water) attracts hummingbirds.[1]

Commercial bird food

A wide variety of commercial bird food is available to bird owners. However, bags of mixed birdseed often combine attractive bird food like sunflower seeds with "filler" materials that birds enjoy less. Birds tend to pick out their favorite seeds and simply leave the rest uneaten.[2][3]

External links

Bird food preference charts:


  1. ^ a b c d What to Feed Birds and Seeds and Grains for Birds. Project FeederWatch. Retrieved on August 23, 2006
  2. ^ a b c Porter, Diane. Winter Bird Feeder: Keep Them Coming Back. Retrieved on August 23, 2006.
  3. ^ Choosing Bird Food. All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved on August 23, 2006.

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