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Quick Reference to the Foods Birds Prefer

Quick Reference to the Foods Birds Prefer

Here are the general food preferences for the most common feeder birds of North America.

Although there are no guaranteed methods for attracting certain birds to your feeders, the presence of water, adequate habitat or cover, and the birds’ favorite foods will enhance the attractiveness of your yard. Foods are listed in approximate order of preference.

Millet, cracked corn, wheat, milo, thistle, buckwheat, sunflower seed, baked goods

Plant nectar, small insects, sugar solution

Suet, meat scraps, sunflower hearts and seed, cracked corn, peanuts, fruits

Peanuts, sunflower seed, suet, meat scraps, cracked corn, baked goods

Meat scraps, suet, cracked corn, peanuts, baked goods, leftovers, dog food

Peanut kernels, sunflower, suet

Suet, suet mixes, sunflower hearts and seed, peanut kernels, peanut butter

Suet, suet mixes, peanut butter, peanut kernels, bread, fruit, millet (wrens)

Halved apples, chopped fruits, baked goods, suet, nutmeats, millet (thrashers), soaked raisins and currants, sunflower hearts

Suet, suet mixes, mealworms, berries, chopped fruits, soaked raisins and currants, nutmeats, and sunflower hearts

Suet, suet mixes, baked goods

Berries, chopped fruits, canned peas, currants, raisins

Suet, suet mixes, fruits, baked goods, sugar solution, chopped nutmeats

Suet, fruits, sugar solution, mealworms, baked goods

Sunflower seed, safflower seed, cracked corn, millet, fruit

Millet, sunflower seed, cracked corn, peanuts, baked goods, nutmeats

Halved oranges, apples, berries, sugar solution, grape jelly, suet, suet mixes, soaked raisins and currants

Thistle (niger), sunflower hearts, black oil sunflower seed, millet, canary seed, fruits, peanut kernels, suet mixes

Read more: Nature, Nature & Wildlife

Adapted from Natural Gardening for Birds by Julie Zickefoose and the Editors and Writers of Bird Watcher's Digest. Copyright (c) 2001 by Bird Watcher's Digest. 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.

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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
6:22AM PDT on May 24, 2012


10:58AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Annie, thanks for the great info.

6:47AM PST on Dec 27, 2011

i needed this!!! thx

5:14PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Thanks for the article.

5:39PM PDT on May 31, 2011

Thanks Annie.

2:20AM PST on Dec 14, 2010

oooo almost forgot, but you got to be mega extreamly careful. get a coconut, drain the juice. use the coconut itself to feed birds.

you can get a very safe surface, an put coconut inside transparent bag. place them on surface and strike firmly but very carefully on the coconut. it should split in half cleanly. Make sure nothing...i mean nothing that belongs to a living being, eg your foot or anyone elses bits in the way. also make sure what you place the coconut on is safe. Like a pile of old clean towels on a choping board will do. Keep your hands, feet and face well away from the axe and choping surface. and please dont blame me if you return to care2 with one less foot.

USE THE AXE EXTREMELY CAREFULLY, THATS IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE ONE AT ALL. Any how, if you do, you will have a good clean coconut choped in half for the birds.

2:13AM PST on Dec 14, 2010

you could get some of the bird seed and grow them too, and the birds go party time on them. they love them.

2:12AM PST on Dec 14, 2010

if you grow sun flowers too, they look great and the birds love them dearly.

2:11AM PST on Dec 14, 2010


2:11AM PST on Dec 14, 2010

last few days, donated 600 for animal feed, and nothing much left for myself. turns out, if I had known better, I could have done so using simple veg fat and sees, that cost lots less. so learn this, look up ideas like this great postie.

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