What Kinds of Wild Bird Foods Will Attract Birds to Your Yard?

stokes wild bird food

If you want to attract wild birds to your yard, you need to provide them with the right kind of food. The types of seed you use will affect which species of birds come to your feeder.

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A diverse mix of seeds will attract the most variety of species to your yard. Choose mixtures that contain sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn.


Sunflower Seed

Sunflower seed is one of the most popular wild bird foods because it’s nutrient-dense and provides a nutty taste that birds enjoy. They are also an excellent source of calcium, iron, and vitamin E.

They have a high fat content, which is highly palatable and helps a bird feel satiated after eating them. However, sunflower seeds are not a complete protein and should only be consumed as part of a balanced diet.

Unlike corn and millet, which are higher in carbohydrates and have lower levels of protein and fat, sunflower seed is a good choice for birds because it’s packed with vitamins and minerals. Several kinds of sunflower seeds are available, including black oil sunflower and striped sunflower.


A well-formulated blend of black oil sunflower, white proso millet and cracked corn is the best way to go. Alternatively you can make your own with quality ingredients and a little ingenuity. You can also find a few specialty mixes that have the right ingredients at the right price point for the home birder on a budget. Using the right seeds in your feeders, you can entice birds to make your yard their own with less mess and more bang for your buck. The biggest challenge is keeping pests like squirrels at bay. The aforementioned video starring your local wildfowl guru may have a better chance of bringing back your feathered friends.


Suet, a type of fat, is an excellent cold-weather food. It provides extra calories for birds during the winter, which is when they need it most.

It’s a popular food for a variety of bird species, including chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, cardinals, juncos and woodpeckers. The fat in suet is also a great source of protein and energy.

Aside from feeding it in a suet feeder, you can create your own suet cake using leftover grease drippings from frying bacon or pork. This is an easy way to attract a variety of birds, and you can mix in peanut butter, nuts or even fruits like cranberries and sunflower seeds.

If you don’t want to make your own suet, you can buy ready-to-use cakes that are rendered (cooked) so they’re less likely to melt or spoil. Then you can mix in seed and other mix-ins, as needed.


Fruits are the seed-bearing parts of flowering plants. These include all kinds of sweet and sour fruits, as well as some vegetables, such as beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and corn grains.

Fruits may consist of ripened ovaries alone (true fruit), or they may fuse with other parts of the flower such as the receptacle, bracts or petals. They are sometimes referred to as accessory fruits.

Classification systems of mature fruits usually take into account the number of carpels in the original ovary, whether the pericarp develops entirely or in part as fleshy, fibrous or stony tissue and if the ovaries are open or closed. Dryness versus fleshiness is also an important factor.