Birds are often hungry this time of year. For many of us, the sight of birds eating what we have provided for them is deeply satisfying: their joyful feathers and flight give a lift to our own winter-weary hearts. When we learn which foods are most appealing to different bird species we can give the birds already in our area a special treat, or we may attract more of a particular kind to our feeders. Either way, the birds will be happy!
Here is a list of the top three favorite foods of many common backyard bird species.
Pigeons, Doves: Millet, cracked corn, wheat.
Hummingbirds: Plant nectar, small insects, sugar solution.
Woodpeckers: Suet, meat scraps, sunflower hearts.
Jays: Peanuts, sunflower seed, suet.
Crows, Magpies, Nutcrackers: Meat scraps, suet, cracked corn.
Titmice, Chickadees: Peanut kernels, sunflower seeds, suet.
Nuthatches: Suet, suet mixes, sunflower hearts and seed.
Wrens, Creepers: Suet, suet mixes, peanut butter.
Mockingbirds, Thrashers, Catbirds: Halved apples, chopped fruits, baked goods.
Robins, Bluebirds, other Thrushes: Suet, suet mixes, mealworms.
Kinglets: Suet, suet mixes, baked goods.
Waxwings: Berries, chopped fruits, canned peas.
Warblers: Suet, suet mixes, fruits.
Tanagers: Suet, fruits, sugar solution.
Cardinals, Grosbeaks: Sunflower seed, safflower seed, cracked corn.
Towhees, Juncos: Millet, sunflower seed, cracked corn.
Sparrows, Buntings: Millet, sunflower hearts, black oil sunflower seed.
Orioles: Halved oranges, apples, berries.
Finches, Siskins: thistle (niger), sunflower hearts, black oil sunflower seed
Adapted from Natural Gardening for Birds by Julie Zickefoose and the Editors and Writers of Bird Watcher's Digest (Rodale Press, 2001). Copyright (c) 2001 by Julie Zickefoose. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press.
Adapted from Natural Gardening for Birds by Julie Zickefoose and the Editors and Writers of Bird Watcher's Digest (Rodale Press, 2001).