Bird Food Preference

What does everyone like?  Birds have definite food preferences and knowing the right type of food to offer will increase your chances of attracting the birds you want to see. 

View a list of berry plants for birds here.



Meal worms, berries, chopped fruits, soaked raisins, currants.


Sunflower seeds, safflower.


Halved apple, chopped fruits, suet, soaked raisins, currants.


Peanut kernels, sunflower seeds, safflower, suet, peanut butter


Suet, peanut butter, peanut kernels, fruit.


Thistle (nyger), sunflower hearts, black oil sunflower seeds, safflower, millet, peanut kernels.


Sunflower seeds, safflower.

Indigo Buntings

Sunflower seeds, millet, nyger.


Peanuts, sunflower seed, suet, cracked corn, milo.


Millet, sunflower seed, cracked corn, peanuts.


Halved apple, chopped fruits, suet, soaked raisins, currants.


Suet, sunflower seeds, peanut kernels, peanut butter.


Halved oranges, apples, berries, sugar water solution, grape jelly, suet, soaked raisins, currants.


Millet, hulled sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn.


Suet, fruits, sugar solution, mealworms. 


Halved apple, chopped fruits, suet, millet, soaked raisins, currants.


Peanut kernels, sunflower, suet, peanut butter


Millet, sunflower, cracked corn, peanuts.


Suet, sunflower hearts.


Suet, peanut butter, peanut kernels, fruit, millet


One primary difference in the type of seeds birds prefer is that many ground feeding birds enjoy millet while birds who spend their time up in trees prefer black-oil sunflower seeds. So, if you're going to put out millet, consider providing it close to the ground. Here's a good article on millet versus black-oil sunflower seed preference from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology - they also talk about why western birds prefer red milo.


Purchasing Birdseed

Although you can buy birdseed in pre-made mixes, many people find it more efficient and cost effective to purchase individual seed types.

With individual seed types, you can provide seperate feeding areas for different types of birds. For instance, nyger seed in special feeders for finches and sunflower seeds for larger birds. You can put out larger seed for larger birds in a hopper or platform feeder and put more expensive seeds such as sunflower chips in special feeders for the smaller birds.

Seperate feeding arrangements for different types of birds ensures that the smaller birds don't get crowded out and also conserves birdseed. If you've ever watched birds feed at a hopper full of mixed seed, you know that a lot of the seed gets tossed to the ground at bigger birds search for their favorite bits. Give everyone their own feeder full of what they enjoy most and that's not as likely to happen.


Purple Finches