Uncovering the Best Bird Seeds: A Comprehensive Review



Best Bird Seeds

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If you’re just starting on your bird-feeding journey, the abundance of bird seed choices in your local garden center or bird store can be utterly baffling. Every bag of bird seed, every pack of suet, entices with images of dazzling, vibrant birds, promising to transform your backyard into a bustling aviary.

But don’t be fooled. All bird feeds are not crafted equally.

So, where should you begin if you’re planning to buy your very first bird feed? What should be on top of your list? To clear your confusion, I’ve carefully assembled a list, ranking the bird seeds from the most desirable down to second choices, to help you decide which bird feed is worthy of your time and investment.

Key Takeaways

  • Not all bird seeds are created equal, and understanding the dietary needs of the bird species frequenting your backyard can make a significant difference in the variety and frequency of birds you attract.
  • Sunflower seeds, particularly the Wagner’s Black Oil Sunflower Seed, are universally loved by many bird species and should be a staple in your bird feeding mix.
  • For attracting specific bird species, choosing specialized feeds such as the Morning Song Goldfinch Thistle Seed can be highly effective.
  • Seasonal feeding is essential for bird survival and activity, making the Lyric Fruit & Nut High Energy Wild Bird Mix a top choice for summer feeding, and C&S Hot Pepper Delight No Melt Suet Dough perfect for the winter months.
  • Birds are influenced by more than just the food type. Consideration must also be given to factors like feeder type, placement, and protection against predators to ensure a successful bird feeding experience.

Best Bird Seed Overall Winner

Without a shadow of a doubt, Wagner’s Black Oil Sunflower Seed. It’s adored by a wide range of bird species and is relatively affordable, making it a clear winner in this category.

Wagner’s Black Oil Sunflower Seed

When it comes to winning hearts across the aviary kingdom, Wagner’s Black Oil Sunflower Seed reigns supreme!

As a bird-feeding enthusiast, you yearn to see a diverse array of feathery friends in your backyard. Wagner’s Black Oil Sunflower Seed provides just that, offering an irresistible feast that lures various species. It’s not only cost-effective, but it’s also an all-around crowd-pleaser that your avian visitors will absolutely adore!


  • Wide Variety of Birds: With Wagner’s, attract the widest array of birds right in your backyard. From Cardinals to Woodpeckers, every bird species loves these sunflower seeds.
  • High Energy Content: Each seed is rich in energy, helping birds maintain a healthy lifestyle and giving them the boost they need to soar high.
  • Easy to Consume: The thin shell of this sunflower seed makes it easily accessible for small beaked birds, ensuring every bird can relish this delicious feed.
  • Quality and Purity: Customers love that Wagner’s offers high-quality seeds with minimal twigs and other debris. Your bag is filled to the brim with pure, high-grade bird food.


  • Shell remnants: The downside of shelled seeds is the potential mess under your feeder.
  • Limited to seed-eating birds: Might not attract species that prefer insects or fruit.

Top Budget Bird Feed

Wild Delight Deck Porch N Patio Wild Bird Food. This option gives you a lot of bang for your buck, with a no-waste blend that reduces the debris under your feeder.

Wild Delight Deck, Porch N’ Patio No Waste Bird Food – Top Pick for Budget-Conscious Bird Lovers

Indulge your Feathered Friends with a Nutritious, Mess-Free, and Budget-Friendly Feast!

The Wild Delight Deck, Porch N’ Patio No Waste Bird Food brings a perfect harmony of quality and affordability for bird enthusiasts who don’t want to compromise on either. This 5lb wonder pack is filled with nutrient-rich seeds and dried fruits that cater to a diverse range of bird species. Add an exciting flutter of life to your backyard without burdening your pocket!


  • Budget-Friendly: This bird food offers an affordable way to attract a variety of wild birds to your backyard.
  • High-Quality Ingredients: The blend includes sunflower kernels, peanuts, pistachios, and hulled pumpkin seeds, providing the birds with essential nutrients.
  • Advanced Nutrient Formula: This feed is enriched with vitamins and minerals to counteract deficiencies in modern hybrid seeds, ensuring optimum health for the birds.
  • Zero Waste: Minimizes the mess in your feeding area, providing you a hassle-free bird feeding experience.


  • Packaging: The bag is not resealable, which can make storage a bit tricky.
  • Season-dependent: Some birds might prefer different mixes during different seasons.

Best Premium Bird Feed

Lyric Sunflower Kernels. This shell-free option offers a high-quality, mess-free feeding experience that will appeal to those willing to invest a little more in their bird feeding hobby.

Premium Feeding Experience: Lyric Sunflower Kernels

For the discerning bird enthusiast, elevate your bird feeding game with Lyric Sunflower Kernels.

When it comes to premium quality and fuss-free bird feeding, Lyric Sunflower Kernels are the cream of the crop. These shell-free seeds provide a clean, high-quality feast that satisfies both your avian visitors and your desire for a tidy feeding area.


  • High-quality: These kernels offer top-tier nutrition for your backyard visitors.
  • Shell-free: No more messy cleanup, keeping your feeding area pristine.
  • Versatile: Can be used in a wide range of feeders.
  • Attracts a variety of birds: From finches to cardinals, many species love sunflower kernels.


  • Price: Premium quality comes with a premium price tag.
  • Spoilage: Without shells, these seeds can spoil faster in wet weather.

Best Bird Feed for Summer

Lyric Fruit & Nut High Energy Wild Bird Mix. Many birds love fruits and nuts, and this mix is perfect for summer when these foods are naturally abundant.

Lyric Fruit & Nut High Energy Wild Bird Mix – The Ultimate Bird Attraction for Your Backyard!

Bring the Symphony of Songbirds to Your Garden with Nutritious, Gourmet Delight!

Lyric Fruit & Nut High Energy Wild Bird Mix is a summer sensation that avian aficionados can’t resist! The 20lb bag is brimming with 13 premium, all-natural ingredients that a wide variety of bird species will flock to. From blue jays to cardinals, chickadees to waxwings, get ready to add color and music to your backyard with this gourmet blend. And with zero fillers, the wild birds will easily spot this nutritional feast!


  • High-Energy Mix: Filled with fruits and nuts, this bird food provides long-lasting energy and a quick sugar boost that birds need during their active summer days.
  • Wide Appeal: Attracts a diverse range of bird species, turning your backyard into a bird-watching paradise.
  • Premium, All-Natural Ingredients: With an array of seeds, real dried fruits, and shell-free nuts, this mix offers excellent nutrition that wild birds crave.
  • No Fillers: The product focuses solely on beneficial ingredients, meaning no waste and a better value for your money.


  • Storage Care Required: As the mix contains unshelled nuts and pre-hulled seeds, it’s crucial to store it in a place safe from snow and rain to prevent spoilage.
  • Size Variations: Some smaller birds might find the large nut pieces a bit challenging to consume. However, a simple solution could be using a food chopper to make the size more manageable for them.

Best Bird Feed for Winter

Hot Pepper Delight No Melt Suet Dough. In winter, birds need more calories to stay warm. This spicy suet deters squirrels while providing birds with a much-needed energy boost.

Blue Seal Hot Pepper Suet Cakes for Wild Birds

Transform Your Yard Into a Birdwatcher’s Paradise with Blue Seal Hot Pepper Suet Cakes!

The Blue Seal Hot Pepper Suet Cakes are your best bet for attracting a diverse range of wild birds, including woodpeckers, cardinals, siskins, sparrows, and many more. Each 11oz suet cake is infused with a hot pepper flavor that birds can’t resist but squirrels will hate. Not only will these suet cakes draw birds to your yard, but they also offer great nutrition, providing extra energy for birds during breeding and cold seasons. And the best part? They’re hassle-free with an easy-to-open, mess-free packaging that is 100% recyclable.


  • Attracts a variety of bird species – From woodpeckers to cardinals, sparrows to siskins, these suet cakes are irresistible to a multitude of bird species.
  • Year-round feeding – Whether it’s the breeding season or the chilly winter, Blue Seal suet cakes provide the necessary energy for your avian visitors.
  • No Mess Packaging – Easy to open and handle, these suet cakes minimize the grease and fuss of typical bird food packaging.
  • Eco-Friendly – The packaging is 100% recyclable, reflecting Blue Seal’s commitment to preserving nature.


  • Squirrel Attraction – Despite the hot pepper flavor, some users report that the suet cakes still attract some pesky squirrels.
  • Texture – The suet cakes can be sticky.

Best Bird Feed for Beginners

Kaytee Birders’ Blend. It offers a well-balanced mix that attracts a variety of birds, making it a great choice for those who are just starting out and aren’t yet sure which birds they’ll be feeding.

Beginners’ Gateway to Bird-Feeding: Kaytee Birders’ Blend

Dip your toes into the delightful world of bird feeding with the foolproof Kaytee Birders’ Blend.

Just starting out in the world of bird feeding? Kaytee Birders’ Blend is the perfect introductory feed. Its balanced mix attracts a medley of bird species, offering a hassle-free entry into your new hobby and the joy of watching a lively yard.


  • Easy to use: Perfect for beginners with any type of bird feeder.
  • Attracts a variety: A broad range of birds are drawn to this mix.
  • Affordable: A good choice for those testing the waters of bird feeding.
  • Nutritious: It’s filled with wholesome ingredients that birds love.


  • Mess potential: Mixed blends can result in selective feeding and more ground waste.
  • Attract unwanted guests: The diverse mix might attract pests or unwanted bird species.

Best Bird Food for Northern Flickers

Suet Plus Woodpecker Blend: Catering to the unique dietary needs of Northern Flickers, the Suet Plus Woodpecker Blend is a rich, energy-packed treat for these distinctive woodpeckers. Easy to use and filled with real insects, this suet blend is sure to be a hit with any Northern Flicker visitors to your yard.

The Ultimate Flicker Feast: Suet Plus Woodpecker Blend

The Woodpecker’s Delight: Nutritious, Eco-friendly, and Simply Irresistible!

Welcome Northern Flickers to your backyard with the Suet Plus Woodpecker Blend, a specially formulated blend designed to cater to their unique dietary needs. This high-energy, insect-rich blend is the ultimate treat for these distinct woodpeckers. Easy to use, it’s all set to turn your yard into a paradise for Northern Flickers!


  • Specially Formulated: Developed with the dietary needs of Northern Flickers in mind, this blend is packed with real insects providing the energy and nutrients these woodpeckers need.
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: The Suet Plus Woodpecker Blend comes in a “candy bar” wrapper, reducing waste and environmental impact.
  • Mess-Free Handling: The innovative packaging ensures easy and clean handling.
  • Highly Attractive to Birds: Not only Northern Flickers, but also a range of other tree-clinging and perching birds such as chickadees, nuthatches, and sparrows are drawn to this blend, making your backyard a hub of avian activity.


  • Size of Cakes: Some customers find the suet cakes smaller than expected. However, their high-energy content and attractiveness to birds make them a valuable addition to any backyard.
  • Attracts Squirrels: The tasty blend can also attract squirrels. Consider placing your suet feeder in a location that is difficult for squirrels to access, or invest in a squirrel-proof suet feeder.

Best Bird Feed for Goldfinches

Morning Song Goldfinch Thistle Seed. Perfect for attracting beautiful goldfinches, this feed may have a narrower appeal, but it’s unbeatable for certain bird lovers.

Bird Food Buying Guide

When it comes to attracting and feeding your feathered friends, choosing the right bird food can make all the difference. Whether you’re a birdwatching enthusiast or simply love the natural serenity birds bring to your backyard, this comprehensive bird food buying guide will help you understand the essentials of bird feeding and make an informed choice.

1. Understanding Bird Diets

Birds are diverse creatures, and so are their diets. Some birds like sparrows and finches love seeds, while others like woodpeckers and flickers prefer insects. Then there are hummingbirds, which primarily feed on nectar. Understanding the diet of the birds you want to attract is crucial.

  • Seeds: Seeds are a universal food choice for many birds. Different types of seeds attract different bird species. For instance, black-oil sunflower seeds are a favorite among cardinals, finches, and titmice.
  • Nectar: Hummingbirds and orioles thrive on a diet of sweet nectar. A hummingbird feeder filled with a sugar-water solution can be a fantastic way to attract these species.
  • Suet: Suet is a high-energy food source that’s especially popular during the winter months. Birds such as woodpeckers, nuthatches, and wrens are attracted to suet feeders.
  • Insects and mealworms: Some birds like robins, bluebirds, and wrens enjoy a diet of insects and worms. Offering dried mealworms can be an excellent way to draw these birds.

2. Bird Food Types

Based on the food preferences of birds, there are several types of bird food available:

  • Seed mixes: These are blends of various seeds and grains. They’re versatile and can attract a wide range of birds. Ensure the mix contains high-quality seeds like sunflower, millet, and safflower, and avoid those with lots of fillers like wheat, milo seeds and oats.
  • Pellets: These are compact forms of all essential nutrients. They are easy to handle, less messy, and suitable for all types of birds.
  • Suet cakes: These are blocks of fat, often mixed with seeds, berries, and insects. They provide plenty of energy, making them ideal for cold winter months.
  • Nectar concentrate: This is for hummingbirds and orioles. You can buy pre-made nectar or make your own by dissolving sugar in water.
  • Mealworms: Both live and dried mealworms are available. These are high in protein and favored by insectivorous birds.

3. Bird Feeder Types

The type of feeder you use is as important as the food you offer. Different feeders cater to different species and food types.

  • Tube Feeders: These are excellent for small birds that cling, like finches and chickadees, and work well with small seeds.
  • Hopper Feeders: These attract a wide variety of birds, from sparrows to cardinals. They can hold a significant amount of seed, reducing the need for frequent refilling.
  • Suet Feeders: These are specially designed to hold suet cakes. They’re particularly attractive to woodpeckers, nuthatches, and starlings.
  • Nectar Feeders: Specifically designed for hummingbirds and orioles, these feeders hold liquid nectar.
  • Ground or Platform Feeders: Ideal for ground-feeding birds like doves, jays, and blackbirds.

4. Consider the Season

Birds’ feeding habits change with the seasons. In spring and summer, they need high-protein foods for breeding and raising their young, making insects and worms ideal. In the colder months, high-energy foods like suet and sunflower seeds are perfect.

5. Local Bird Species

Consider the types of birds that live in your region. If you’re unsure, a local Audubon Society chapter or bird watching group can help identify the species common to your area and their specific dietary needs.

6. Quality over Quantity

Invest in high-quality bird food. Cheap blends often contain filler seeds that most birds don’t eat. It may seem like you’re getting more for your money, but much of it ends up wasted.

7. Experiment!

Every bird’s preference is different. It may take some trial and error to figure out what your backyard visitors enjoy most. Don’t be afraid to try different foods and monitor the response.

Remember, providing fresh water along with food will make your yard even more appealing to birds. Happy bird watching!

Bird Basics

You may think you know the common backyard birds in the United States, but let’s dive deeper into their identification and how to attract them with the best bird seed for each species.

Attracting techniques may vary depending on the species you want to attract, but generally, providing food, water, and shelter are the key elements to bring birds to your backyard. Bird feeders are a great way to provide food, and there are different types of bird seed that can attract specific species.

To identify the birds that visit your backyard, it’s essential to observe their physical characteristics, such as size, color, beak shape, and wing shape. You can also use bird guides and online resources to aid you in identifying the species.

Once you know the species of birds that frequent your backyard, you can provide the best bird seed for them. For example, finches prefer nyjer seed, while woodpeckers enjoy suet.

Seed Options

Consider the type of bird you want to attract when selecting the appropriate bird seed for your backyard. Different birds have different preferences when it comes to food. For example, if you want to attract finches, look for bird seed that contains hulled sunflower seeds. On the other hand, if you want to attract doves, look for bird seed that contains millet seeds.

Keep in mind that certain types of bird seed can also pose risks, such as spilled millet seeds sprouting and causing a mess in your backyard. When selecting bird seed, make sure to read the ingredients carefully and consider the needs and preferences of the birds you want to attract.

To ensure that your bird seed does not create a mess in your backyard, consider the following tips:

  1. Choose no mess or waste-free bird seed options, which are designed to minimize waste and mess.
  2. Store your bird seed in a cool, dry place to prevent it from becoming wet or stale.
  3. Regularly clean your bird feeder and surrounding area to prevent the buildup of mold, bacteria, and other harmful substances that can harm birds.

By following these tips and selecting the appropriate bird seed, you can attract a variety of birds to your backyard without creating a mess or risking the health of your feathered friends.

FAQs for Best Seed for Wild Birds

What is in Bird Seed Mixes?

A wild bird seed mix can contain a wide variety of seeds to feed birds, some of them are very beneficial whilst some brands might use cheap bird seed filler like milo seeds. It’s worth getting a bird seed specifically for the birds in your garden, whether that is one which contains striped sunflower seeds for larger birds or blends of white millet, sunflower seeds and cracked corn. Add in safflower seed if you want to deter squirrels.

Different birds prefer differer seeds and different ways of eating, from tray feeders to upside down suet feeders so research the wild birds in your yard to see their preference. If you have a squirrel problem slowly introduce your birds to safflower seeds, which they will eat but squirrels won’t. Feeding wild birds can be great fun and the best way to attract wild birds is with a general mix such as kaytee wild bird mix until you know what your birds eat. Remember some birds like orioles rarely visit bird feeders so try different types for them.

What is the best bird seed to attract colorful birds?

To attract a variety of colorful birds, consider using black oil sunflower seeds. These seeds are a favorite of many vibrant bird species, including cardinals, finches, and blue jays. Their high oil content and easy-to-crack shells make them appealing to a wide range of birds.

What kind of bird seed attracts what kind of birds?

Different seeds attract different bird species. For example, sunflower seeds are loved by cardinals and finches, while niger (thistle) seeds are a favorite for goldfinches and siskins. Cracked corn and millet attract sparrows, juncos, and blackbirds, and safflower seeds draw cardinals, chickadees, and doves.

What bird seed attracts cardinals?

Cardinals are particularly fond of black oil sunflower seeds and safflower seeds. These seeds have a high oil content that provides essential nutrients and energy for the birds, and their shells are easy for cardinals to crack open.

What is healthy bird feed?

Healthy bird feed is a blend of various seeds, grains, nuts, and dried fruits that cater to the diverse dietary needs of different bird species. It should be free from chemicals and preservatives. Black oil sunflower seeds, millet, niger seeds, and cracked corn are all healthy options.

What is the best food for wild birds?

The best food for wild birds varies depending on the species. However, a mix of seeds (sunflower, millet, niger), grains (corn), nuts (peanuts), and fruits (berries, apple bits) typically appeals to a wide range of wild birds. Fresh, clean water and grit (crushed eggshells or sand) are also crucial.

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