Choosing the best birdseed
Setting up bird feeders in your garden is not only for the joy of watching the birds that visit — it’s also an important food source during seasons where food is scarce. So let’s walk through a few tips and tricks to make sure your feeders are filled with the best kinds of birdseed to attract and nourish the birds you love.
Setting up your bird feeders for success
You may have heard that once birds are trained to visit your feeders, you can’t stop or they’ll go hungry. That’s not true. But the biggest need for seed is in winter and early spring, when other food is in shorter supply, so it’s important to be especially attentive to the feeders at this time.
Don’t get frustrated if they don’t show up right away when you put feed out. Birds find food by sight and may not immediately recognize your feeders as a food source. To help them, sprinkle some food on the ground where it’s easy to find near your feeders. Once you start getting bird activity, others will notice. If you change seed, you may need to mix seeds for a while until birds recognize the new food.
Birdseed storage tip
Bird seed has a limited shelf life. If allowed to sit too long at warm temperatures, it can dry out and lose the oil content that makes it a great energy source. So only buy a couple months’ worth of seed at a time, or if you purchase in bulk, store it in a cool basement rather than a hot garage.
Choosing the best kinds of birdseed
The key to attracting the right birds is to fill your feeders with the right type of birdseed. Have you ever filled your feeders only to find the birds didn’t eat any of it? Or that they ate some and kicked the rest onto the ground, where it made a mess? It may have been the mix. Some pre-mixed birdseeds contain fillers that birds don’t typically eat and that can sprout on the ground beneath your feeders, too. If you see milo, golden millet, red millet or flax in the list of seeds in your mix, avoid it.
Create a custom birdseed mix
If you can’t find pre-mixed seed without any of these ingredients, you can purchase a single type of seed and make your own mix. This also means you can make a variety of mixes for each feeder and attract a variety of birds to each. To help you decide which are the best kinds for your garden, scroll through the gallery below, and take note of which birds are attract to each seed. Happy birding!