When it comes to feeding wild birds, choosing the right food can make all the difference. There are many different options on the market, and it can be hard to know which one is the best for your feathered friends. So, to help narrow down the best bird food to fill your feeders, we searched for the consensus among 12 experts. They ranked foods based not only on the quality of ingredients, but also by what birds love to eat.
Songbirds are a favorite of bird lovers, but sadly, the “dawn chorus” is getting quieter due to climate change, a study found. The pleasant sounds of nature are not only growing softer, but the chirps you hear have also become less diverse. For the last 25 years, there’s been a changing distribution of bird species as a result of global warming. Unfortunately, as global temperatures continue to change, so will the sounds of spring.
While it might sound trivial, feeder placement is important for keeping birds free of injury. When it comes to adding a bird feeder near a window, it’s best to have some space between the window and the feeder. Birds often cannot detect a window in their path, causing them to fly straight into one — potentially killing them. In fact, a new study reports that bird feeders should be placed within 18 inches of windows to prevent fatal collisions.
Below are some options for the best bird food for feeders. Shop this list and the early bird won’t get the worm, but it may get all the good seeds! These high-quality options help attract a variety of birds to your yard while bringing your flock the best possible nutrition, so they keep coming back for more. And if you need a bird feeder, check out the ones that made the best bird feeders list. Let us know in the comments below what your winged neighborhood friends like the best!
The List: Best Bird Food, According To Experts
Bob Vila recommends this as the top food blend for wild birds: “For those looking to feed a variety of bird species or figure out which species are prominent in their area, it’s hard to beat Wagner’s Greatest Variety Wild Bird Food Blend. The main ingredient is black oil sunflower seed, which attracts many birds, including cardinals, doves, and woodpeckers. It also contains a healthy mix of safflower seed, millet, nyjer seed, peanuts, tree nuts, raisins, and other beneficial seed types. This inclusive blend provides many of the essential nutrients birds need to stay healthy, such as protein, fat, and fiber.”
“Wagner’s Bird Food is available in a 6-pound or 16-pound bag. It is suitable for all breed sizes of birds. Using this feed will attract a variety of songbirds to your garden. This bag contains 11 different ingredients, which means a great variety of vitamins, minerals, and fats for your feathery friends. You can place the seeds in a hopper, tube, or platform feeders. Use this high-quality blend to attract life to your garden and make your outdoor space flourish,” Garden Gate writes.
The Strategist consulted reviewers, and here’s what they said: “Reviewers love that birds love this bird seed, and, as the name suggests, it seems to attract the greatest variety of bird species to feeders. One reviewer explains, ‘I switched from another ‘economy’ brand, and I started getting more cardinals, blue jays, and other species.’ Another reviewer describes the scene: ‘It’s like Game of Thrones, only with birds, each battling for the plexiglass feeder.’”
Bird Bites says this is an excellent choice: “This is the best bird seed you can invest in. You should buy sunflower seed if you’re getting started in this hobby. Sunflower seed is relatively cheap compared to other bird feed if you go with the whole-shell version. The only downside is the shell remnants left over below your feeder. Birds that like sunflower seeds are: Cardinals, chickadees, grosbeaks, woodpeckers, finches, jays, titmice, nuthatches.”
“While black oil sunflower seeds are popular, they can be expensive. That’s especially true during years when bad weather affects sunflower crops or a high demand for ethanol for gasoline cuts into the supply. But even if it costs more, the opportunity to view birds up close while helping them through the winter is well worth the expense. Buying in bulk, like this 25-pound bag of Wagner’s, reduces the expense,” Outdoor Life claims.
Bird Informer thinks both you and the birds will like this brand: “Wagner’s Black Oil Sunflower Wild Bird Food is a great choice if you’re looking to feed birds that thrive on these seeds. They contain healthy oil and a great nutrient ratio, which means they deliver peak levels of energy. The birds seem to love the taste and it’s easy to consume.”
According to Birding Hub, this is a good way to attract diverse species: “The Lyric fruit and nut mix comes in a 5lb or giant 20lb bag which is a great option if you want to get all your bird food in one go. It contains a high-energy wild bird mix featuring fruits, seeds and shell-free nuts. There are 12 all-natural premium ingredients in total so even though this is an expensive bird seed, you certainly get your money’s worth in variety. The blend is designed to attract birds like chickadees, robins, orioles, blue jays, and titmice among others.”
“If you are in search of the best wild bird seed that comes with a gourmet blend of ingredients, then this option is ideal for your search! This is worth every single penny you pay for it because there are no fillers for less waste. Many bird enthusiasts prefer this brand since it is highly recognized for being a high-energy wild bird mix that contains a gourmet blend of finely select seeds, fruits, as well as shell-free nuts,” Birding Depot writes.
GearLab describes this in such a way, you might be tempted to take a taste (we’re not saying you should): “The Lyric Fruit and Nut High Energy mix of peanuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, pistachios, cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and steamed crimped corn look good enough to eat. Lyric claims that non-seed-eating species like cedar waxwings and orioles that rarely visit bird feeders will appreciate the mix.”
BirdBot says flying takes a lot of energy, and this is the perfect food to help birds replenish it: “Kaytee Nut & Fruit blend contains a rich mix of seeds and grains with added nut and fruit pieces. Pound for pound, nothing offers more energy than fruit & nuts to meet birds’ high-energy demands. Wild birds require a lot of energy for flying. Offer them the Kaytee Nut & Fruit Blend to keep them fueled and happy. Pound for pound, nothing offers your feathered friends more energy than fruit and nuts. This blend is a great high-energy blend that is perfect for year-round feeding.”
For Cardinals, Chickadees, Nuthatches and Woodpeckers, BirdHouseSupply.com recommends Kaytee Nut and Fruit Blend because “the best bird seed options are comprised of bird seed mixes that are offered by reputable seed companies, have significant levels of birders that use their product, and are available at a good value.” This food meets those benchmarks.
And according to Chipper Birds, “The main ingredient in Kaytee Wild Bird Food Nut & Fruit Blend is hulled sunflower seed, which provides essential fatty acids and protein for healthy growth and maintenance. It also contains cracked corn, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, raisins, and dried fruits such as apples and cranberries. These ingredients provide a nutritious balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals that wild birds need to stay healthy. The blend is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E to promote strong immune systems and Omega 3 fatty acids for healthy skin and feathers.”
Do you have a bird feeder? What type of birds like to visit your home most often? Let us know in the comments!
- Bob Vila
- Garden Gate
- The Strategist
- Bird Bites
- Outdoor Life
- Bird Informer
- Birding Hub
- Birding Depot
- Chipper Birds
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