Best foods for feeding birds

If you like watching birds, there’s no better way than to put a feeder near a window where you can comfortably watch and they can’t see you. Choosing different foods will change the type of bird you see.  To attract the widest number of birds, nothing beats black oil sunflower seed. Sunflower seed brings titmice, cardinals, chickadees and wrens by the score.

Black oil sunflower seed assures that birds won’t scratch uneaten food to the ground beneath the feeder. There, squirrels, chipmunks, rats and mice can find the food and will establish a settlement nearby. Most bird feeding experts discourage using the inexpensive bird food mixes that contain wheat, sorghum, and hemp seed. These seed are not bird favorites and the birds will simply pick through what they don’t want while looking for the food they desire.

Suet attracts birds that cling to vertical surfaces: nuthatches, titmice, chickadees and woodpeckers. Thistle seed is a favorite of finches but requires a special tube with small holes to dispense the seed.

Whole and crushed peanuts attract woodpeckers, jays, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, wrens, northern mockingbirds, brown thrashers, starlings, and pine warblers. Provide these in tube-shaped, metal mesh feeders.

Squirrels are the bane of bird feeders. I went though a half-dozen plastic and wooden feeders before I bought an Eliminator. It has a weighted, adjustable perch which allows lightweight birds to feed but slams a door over the feeding portals when a squirrel gives it a try.

I recently spent several enjoyable minutes in front of a store video player watching squirrels attempt to master a Yankee Flipper ™ bird feeder. A motorized perch spins around when a squirrel grasps it. Although pricey, this feeder is guaranteed to tempt you to produce a video of “Stupid Squirrel Gymnastics”.

Bird seed mixes that contain lots of cracked corn or wheat are not the best for attracting songbirds.

A squirrel tried to get into the feeder but its weight shut the feeding portals.

This feeder is not squirrel-proof. They can hang on the side and pull the wooden bar down to access the seed.

Another way to deter squirrels is to feed suet that’s been treated with capsaicin It’s flaming hot to squirrels but birds can’t taste it.

A suet feeder attracts woodpeckers and bluebirds by the dozens.

A suet feeder near a window is great to watch.

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