How to Choose Good Wild Bird Seed For Your Feeders

good wild bird seed

We conducted extensive experiments with different seed mixes in order to find those which worked best with our feeders. It’s best to avoid cheaper options that contain fillers such as cracked corn, safflower and red milo as these may prove less than ideal for feeding birds.

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Our favorite seeds were nyjer thistle, an essential feed for goldfinches and pine siskins, and black oil sunflower seeds.



Sunflower seeds are among the most sought-after food items for wild birds because they mimic what is typically found in their natural environments and offer high amounts of energy through fat-based energy sources.

Sunflower seeds contain adequate amounts of protein; however, to ensure complete amino acid profiles (which includes essential selenium and manganese). When fed solely on high fat low protein seeds alone, birds may become deficient in essential elements like selenium or manganese which could become deficient unless supplemented through other food sources.

Pennington Pride Songbird Nut & Fruit Blend’s shelled sunflower seeds or chips attract chickadees, pine siskins and finches; blue jays, red-bellied woodpeckers and other seed eaters also enjoy their seeds; however, the shells quickly spoil and can harbor bacteria which poses health hazards to birds; they may clog hopper, gazebo and tube feeders too quickly if not removed regularly from feeders – leading many bird enthusiasts to opt for no-mess wild bird seed mixes that reduce waste left after feeding sessions – saving both time and money when cleaning up after feedings!


Millet offers a more balanced mix of carbohydrates and proteins compared to black oil sunflower seeds or niger seed, making it an excellent option for winter feeding when birds require additional calories and fat to remain warm.

These tiny seeds provide birds with essential protein, fiber and B vitamin benefits – perfect for finch or canary seed mixes but also popular among ground feeding birds such as quails, juncos and towhees.

Be sure to provide your birds with fresh millet, or an appropriate mix, as poor storage conditions can result in mold or fungus growth, potentially harmful to wild birds and even potentially contaminated with bacteria. Airtight containers that help manage moisture levels are great ways to keep millet seed fresh – easily found online and at many home improvement stores, airtight containers ensure your birds receive essential nutrition!

Niger Seed

Niger seed, commonly referred to as Nyjer thistle seed, is a favorite among goldfinches and pine siskins. Cultivated in Ethiopia and India for its high fat content, this black seed (technically fruit) often mistaken for thistle seeds because goldfinches love eating them; however, niger is unrelated to any wild thistles found natively within these countries.

Because niger seeds are so small, they’re best given in feeders with fine holes to prevent spillage and spillover. The smaller openings help prevent any messiness!

Niger seed is an imported crop and must be heat sterilized upon arriving in North America to eliminate any potential weed seeds present in its packaging. As such, its shelf life is short; be sure to switch out regularly (ideally every 3-4 weeks).


Peanuts are packed with fat, protein, calories and minerals making them one of the most sought-after wild bird food sources. Woodpeckers, jays, titmice and cardinals alike enjoy visiting feeders with peanuts to feed on! In addition, peanuts provide energy needed for nest building and migration during winter time activities.

Peanuts can be offered either whole or ground up in a mesh feeder and are an incredibly popular food choice among backyard birds during winter and breeding season. Their quick energy source makes them an ideal nutritional boost during periods of increased nutritional needs.

Be sure to offer birds peanuts that have been specifically created for them without additional salt and sugar added, and use a feeder designed to keep the peanuts dry – this will help minimize disease among your feathered friends!