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Foods Birds Like: How-To

Foods Birds Like: How-To

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

Read more: Nature, Nature & Wildlife

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).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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Natural Gardening for Birds

The bird-friendly backyard; simple ways to create a bird now


+ add your own
6:47AM PST on Feb 26, 2014

Thank You. Informative Article.

1:04PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013


8:36PM PDT on Mar 21, 2013

Love watching colourful Cardinals at the bird feeder along with many varieties of birds that come to feed.

7:16AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

2:47AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Thank you :)

8:17AM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Thanks for the info.

4:47AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

Thanks for the article.

2:54AM PST on Jan 5, 2012

Saving this article, thanks.

8:20PM PST on Dec 5, 2011


1:37AM PST on Nov 17, 2011

Thank you

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