Feeding wild birds can be quite an eclectic practice. This is wild birds have different food preferences. Some eat bugs while others prefer seeds or tomatoes. Other wild birds such as hummingbirds prefer to suck up sugar water. To make feeding wild birds even more complicated their diet can change from season to season. For instance some birds may eat insects for most of the year but then switch to berries in the winter when there are less creepy crawlies around.
Here is a brief guide to feeding wild birds.
If you want to attract:
Blackbirds – Spread millet out on a platform feeder.
Bluebirds – Spread millet out on a platform feeder along with raisins, dried fruit and fruit remnants. They will also eat from a suet ball and enjoy suet balls covered with peanut butter.
Jays – Spread a platform feeder with corn, peanuts and sunflower seeds. They also enjoy a nice ball of suet.
Cardinals – Spread sunflower seeds, peanuts or fruit on a platform feeder. They will also eat from a suit ball or suet feeder.
Cedar Waxwings – Spread a platform feeder with fresh or dried pieces of fruit.
Chickadees – These wild birds need a tube feeder with black oil sunflower seeds. The will also feed from a suet feeder or a platform or tube feeder supplied with peanuts or thistle seeds. They will also feed from suet balls or tree bark spread with peanut butter.
Doves – Spread millet, corn and peanuts on a platform feeder.
Finches – Finches feed best from a tube feeder filled with black sunflower seeds or a platform feeder with peanuts. They will also eat safflower seeds and thistle seeds (also known as niger)
Flickers – Flickers enjoy suet balls or pieces smeared with peanut butter, or you can smear the peanut butter on a tree.
Grackles – Spread a platform feeder with peanuts
Grosbeaks – They will feed on sunflower or safflower seeds from a tube feeder or a platform.
Hummingbirds – These wild birds feed on fructose so they need a hanging nectar feeder filled with sugar water. They will also eat peanut butter smeared on tree bark.
Juncos – Spread a platform feeder with corn and peanuts
Mockingbirds – Mockingbirds thrive best feeding from a platform feeder filled with fresh or dried fruit.
Nuthatches – Feed these wild birds with a suet feeder or a tube feeder filled with black sunflower seeds.
Orioles- These songbirds feed from a nectar feeder filled with sugar water and on pieces of dried or fresh fruit.
Pheasants – Feed these large birds with platform feeder filled with corn.
Pigeons – Fill a platform feeder with millet or corn.
Pine Siskins -This wild bird feeds on thistle seeds.
Quail – Fill a platform feeder with corn.
Sparrows – These wild birds feed from a platform feeder filled with millet or peanuts. They also enjoy millet, sunflower seeds, thistle seeds and corn.
Tanagers – These songbirds prefer a nectar feeder filled with sugar water and fresh or dried fruit.
Titmice – These tiny birds prefer a tube feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds or peanuts. They will also dine off of platform feeder with peanuts or on tree bark covered with peanut butter.
Woodpeckers – They enjoy fruit, dried fruit, suet balls and tube feeders filled with peanuts or sunflower seeds. They also enjoy suet or tree bark smeared with peanut butter.
Wrens- These tiny birds do best feeding from a suet ball or suet filled feeder. They will also feed on suet balls or tree bark that has been smeared with peanut butter.
As part of your regiment of feeding wild birds you may also want to provide them with a bit of grit. Grit is simply fine grains of sand. You can also buy pet bird grit or make your own by grinding up eggshells. Eggshells also supply wild birds with calcium that they need to lay their bird eggs in the spring.
Birds ingest fine grains of grit to help them digest seeds and peanuts. This is especially crucial if you are feeding wild birds in the winter when the ground is covered in snow and the dirt that they usually eat to supply their gizzards with grit is scarce. A deficiency of readily available grit is why wild birds can sometimes look a bit unhealthy in the winter season. The wild birds will probably appreciate it if you mix just a bit of grit in with their food as it eases their digestion.