Sunflower seed is the most popular food used to feed wild birds. There are many kinds of sunflower seeds, and providing the right kind is key to attracting the greatest variety of birds to your backyard feeder.

To attract the greatest variety of birds – from small songbirds like finches and chickadees, as well as blue jays and cardinals – experts agree that one of the best choices is black oil sunflower seed. With a softer shell, high fat content, they provide high nutritional value and are a good, all-purpose food. Mixes with a high percentage of black oil sunflower are also popular. Look for mixes with 50% black oil sunflower content. 

Striped sunflower seeds have a hard shell, and are appropriate for larger birds. These birds will use their strong beaks to break these harder shells.

Pre-shelled seeds like sunflower kernels are a treat and double as a no waste food. No waste mixes usually include shelled nuts and seeds. And because no waste mixes are 100% edible, they don't leave any empty shells or mess behind. 

Seeds without their protective shells lose freshness quicker than seeds remaining in their shell. When using a no-waste mix try to keep the feeder locations dry. Use baffles or feeders with roof. Fill feeding areas with the amount of seed that would be eaten in a day or two. Try to store all you wild bird food in a dry, air-tight containers in a cool location.

Sunflower kernels are pre-shelled and are a no waste treat!
Black oil sunflower seeds have softer shells that are easier for birds of all sizes to eat.