Are you offering the right bird food and seed to your backyard visitors?

What Foods for What Birds?

Are you offering the right bird food and seed to your backyard visitors?

The experts at Bird Watcher’s Digest have compiled this informative bird food and seed list to help you attract the birds that you want to your feeders.

Quail, pheasants:

Cracked corn, millet, wheat, milo, sunflower hearts

Pigeons, doves:

Millet, cracked corn, wheat, milo, Nyjer, buckwheat, sunflower hearts


Meat scraps, hamburger, suet


Plant nectar, small insects, sugar solution


Suet, meat scraps, sunflower seeds and hearts, cracked corn, peanuts, fruit, sugar solution, millet, mealworms


Peanuts, sunflower seeds and hearts, suet, meat scraps, cracked corn, safflower, mealworms, citrus, grapes/raisins

Crows, magpies, and nutcrackers:

Meat scraps, suet, cracked corn, peanuts, dog food, safflower, mealworms, sunflower seeds and hearts, citrus, grapes/raisins

Titmice, chickadees:

Peanut kernels, sunflower seeds and hearts, suet, peanut butter, mealworms


Suet, sunflower hearts and seed, peanut kernels, peanut butter, mealworms

Wrens, creepers:

Suet, peanut butter, peanut kernels, fruit, millet, mealworms, sunflower hearts and seeds

Mockingbirds, thrashers, catbirds:

Halved apple, chopped fruits, suet, nutmeats, millet, soaked raisins, currants, sunflower hearts

Robins, bluebirds, other thrushes:

Suet, mealworms, berries, chopped fruits, soaked raisins, currants, nutmeats, sunflower hearts, citrus


Suet, suet mixes


Berries, chopped fruits, canned peas, currants, raisins


Suet, fruit, sugar solution, chopped nutmeats, mealworms, sugar solution


Suet, fruits, sugar solution, mealworms, grapes, raisins, citrus

Cardinals, grosbeaks, pyrrhuloxias:

Sunflower seeds and hearts, safflower, cracked corn, millet, fruit

Towhees, juncos:

Millet, sunflower, cracked corn, peanuts, nutmeats

Sparrows, buntings:

Millet, milo, sunflower hearts, black-oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, peanuts

Blackbirds, starlings:

Cracked corn, milo, millet, wheat, suet, safflower, peanuts


Halved oranges, apples, berries, sugar solution, suet, suet mixes, currants, mealworms

Finches, siskins:

Nyjer, sunflower hearts, fruit, peanut kernels, suet

6 thoughts on “What Foods for What Birds?”

    1. Uncooked, straight-from-the-bag, the stuff that’s thrown at weddings? While it won’t hurt them, few birds recognize it as seed. House sparrows might, but few others. It is not recommended. Leftover cooked rice? Maybe, although they are probably unaccustomed to it and might not recognize it as food. Rice growing on the stalk in agricultural fields? Sure thing! Dawn Hewitt, Bird Watcher’s Digest

  1. Having problems getting birds to come in feeding sunflower seeds, suat, peanut, and a mixed seed and thistle for the finchs its been 4 days and on one comes around..

    1. Hi Winnie, Don’t be discouraged! It could take several weeks before the birds discover a new food source. They will find it, though. Just give it more time. Dawn Hewitt, Bird Watcher’s Digest

      1. Thank you so much in disabled and love watching birds haven’t feed them in a couple years, trying to get them back to enjoy love finches, can you , recommend. Good mixed seed.. Ty

        1. I don’t wish to recommend any brands of mixed seed, but look at the ingredients. Look for lots of black-oil sunflower seeds (with or without hulls), safflower, and nuts. Millet and milo are okay for ground-feeding birds, but should be a minor ingredient in a good quality seed blend. If you want finches, a good blend should be primarily Nyjer (thistle) and sunflower hearts (or sunflower chips).

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