Backyard birding basics
Bird Feeding 101
If you’re thinking of feeding birds, you’re in good company. Birding as a hobby currently stands second only to gardening as America’s favorite pastime. This guide will get you started successfully and will hopefully address many of the questions you have as you begin this rewarding endeavor.
What Do Birds Eat?
The diet of most songbirds consists mainly of seeds, fruits and insects. These are the foods you can use to roll out the welcome mat and set the table for our feathered friends. The easiest and most popular way to begin attracting birds to your yard is by offering seed in a tube, hopper or platform feeder.
Different types of birds prefer different seeds, but the seed that attracts the greatest number of species is black-oil sunflower. This seed has a high meat-to-shell ratio and offers a lot of nutrition for its small size. Other seeds to look for, in smaller quantities, could include both white and golden safflower, sunflower hearts, white millet, corn and peanuts. Try Joe’s Mix, it has been our most popular all-purpose birdseed mix for more than 30 years and it has the right combination of these seeds for most of our birds. For finches, we recommend Nyjer® seed, our Nyjer® and Chips mix, or our Finches’ Choice specialty mix. As a supplement, we recommend serving high-protein live or dried mealworms; they’re a treat for most backyard songbirds, especially during nesting season. If you put out a new feeder and don’t see any birds right away, don’t be discouraged. Birds are creatures of habit and
it can sometimes take a month or more before they discover a new feeder.