Filling your feeders with sunflower seeds is like rolling out the welcome mat to your neighborhood songbirds. Though the larger bag of black-oil sunflower seeds may have a tempting price, you might want to rethink that purchase and reach for a brand that serves just the kernels.

Here are some reasons why:

1. Good energy

What can't be overlooked is the fact that sunflower seeds are the perfect food for winter birds on the lookout for something to eat amid the bleak winter landscapes. These kernels contain a high amount of fat and nutrients to help songbirds get the fuel they need to get through snowfalls, brisk winds and cold nights.

2. No mess

The shell of a black-oil sunflower seed is thin and easy to open, even for small beaks, which is another reason bird lovers tout this food. Unfortunately, the result for you is a great mess of inedible black hulls beneath the feeder. (Even messier are bargain mixes, because birds will push out the milo and other cheap fillers so they can snatch up the nuggets they really want — such as sunflower seeds.)

3. Beautiful yard

When kernels drop to the ground, there will be no unsightly weeds sprouting up in your lawn or nearby garden bed later this spring. Plus, sunflower kernels eliminate the worry that spilled shells might inhibit growth of garden plants and your grass. In fact, a more likely outcome is ground-feeding birds will come and gobble up the spillage!

4. Great value

While many birders have reached for the pre-shelled kernels because they want to avoid the mess, they have discovered yet another benefit as well: Pound for pound, buying kernels is a terrific value for your wallet. When purchasing whole seeds, remember that you are also paying for the shell.

5. Long-lasting

Without the shells taking up real estate, your feeders will stay filled longer. But this benefit also has a drawback: That means when moisture gets in, especially after a weather event, it hastens spoilage. When you fill your feeder with these nutrient-rich kernels, be sure and keep an eye on their condition. Be sure they are in a feeder, which protects them from moisture.

You'll soon see the difference that high-quality kernels can make in beautifying your winter yardscape: an abundance of bird visitors and no shell mess on the ground. Order your bag of Lyric Sunflower Kernels today.