Here are a few tips for picking the perfect seed:

  • Whole kernel or cracked corn: A favorite food of jays, pigeons, doves, turkeys, pheasants and quail, cracked corn is easier for smaller birds to eat, too. You will attract blackbirds, finches and sparrows, too.
  • Red and white millet: Preferred by ground-feeding birds, such as doves, juncos, and sparrows. But you'll also get a lot of starlings and house sparrows, who tend to join a party - even when they're not invited
  • Safflower seed: Cardinals love safflower seed, which is the cousin of the sunflower seed. Grosbeaks, doves, nuthatches and chickadees like it, too. If sparrows and squirrels are a problem at your feeders, safflower seed is a good choice - since neither is attracted to it!
  • Nyjer or thistle seed: Nyjer attracts small finches, like goldfinches, siskins and redpolls. Nyjer is generally a bit pricier than other seeds, so don't forget to use a finch feeder with small feeding ports to keep the small seed from spilling.
  • Black oil sunflower seed: Black-oil sunflower seed is the all around favorite for bird feeders, particularly attractive to tree-dwelling birds. It has a high meat-to-shell ratio and is high in fat.
  • Peanuts: Shelled or whole peanuts are a special treat for titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, cardinals, jays, sparrows and Carolina wrens. Sprinkle your seed on the ground or serve it up in platform feeders so that the seed is easily available to ground-feeding birds that prefer it.