General Question

Mama_Cakes's avatar

What kind of bird seed should I have in my window bird feeder?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (9320 points ) March 18th, 2013

I am going to purchase one of these (a mirrored window feeder) and I live in upstairs apartment, so the feeder will be up high.

It’s not a big feeder, so I want the seed to be good. Not the filler stuff that the birds will ignore.

Suggestions?

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18 Answers

boffin's avatar

What kind of birds are you wanting to attract?
What is in the area?
More help here. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/page.aspx?pid=1200

Pachy's avatar

One tiny word of caution: Once you start feeding birds, you’re stuck with birds forever. I found out the hard way ;-)

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I wish that I could find a condensed version. Birds of Southern Ontario.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I had a similar feeder and filed it with sunflower seeds. I mixed it half and half with black oiled sunflowers seeds and shelled sunflower seeds (out of the shell)

Now let me tell you the down side so you are prepared.
1)The seed husks made a mess and landed on everything stored near it- BBQ grill, chairs, hose. The expensive shelled seeds are clean but are attractive to critters.
2) Squirrels could reach it by jumping from the roof. They would tear it off the window every few days. Maybe you will not have this problem.
3) My feeder was south facing and exposed to the sun. No matter how I cleaned the window or softened up the suction cups per instructions the unit would eventually break free causing it to fall (if the squirrels didn’t get it. ) I got so mad I used clear epoxy and glued it to the window. That worked.

On the positive side, it was amazing to see the chickadees up close and personal.
In the end was it worth it? Yes, for a year. It was fun taking pictures for a while. My feeders are now well away from the house.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@boffin Songbirds, primarily.

thorninmud's avatar

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has some good info on choosing seed.

@boffin linked to their home page, but this link is specifically to the seed page

marinelife's avatar

Any good quality bird feed mix that contains black oil sunflower seeds.

syz's avatar

Black oil sunflower seed attracts the widest range of birds. (The mixes have millet, a smalll round brown seed, which attracts undesirables like starlings.)

Mama_Cakes's avatar

A second question. I’ve opted against the mirrored feeder, as they reviews on that particular feeder weren’t good. How would a regular window feeder do with a feline glaring at it from the kitchen? It would be eye level with the kitty.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mama_Cakes A regular window feeder will be fine even with a cat glaring at it. My brother has a cat that loves to sit by the feeder and watch and the birds don’t mind. I use a mix that includes cracked corn and safflower (sp?) and add extra black oil sunflower seed.

gailcalled's avatar

There is also the interesting issue of the other (non-squirrel) rodents who are drawn to the sunflower seeds that fall onto the ground.

(Don’t waste your money on anything but sunflower seeds.)

The little feeders are very inefficient because several finches or chickadees can empty it in short order.

jaytkay's avatar

I like the finch feeders. They have to pick the seeds out of narrow vertical slot, and only finch & cardinal beaks work that way.

Also they are squirrel-proof. If you’re feeder isn’t squirrel-proof, it’s a squirrel feeder. They work faster and eat a lot more than the birds.

When I lived in your area (Detroit suburbs) we had cardinals year-round at the feeder, and lots of finches in the warm months.

Coloma's avatar

Black oil sunflower is the most widely consumed by many species.
Some species are insect eaters and will not eat seed. Doves and Pigeons like millet as do many sparrows, but sunflower is the best attractor for most species.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I’ll go with sunflower seeds.

Thanks!

KNOWITALL's avatar

Research that first please, in my bird class we were told sunflowers are like candy, you can have some but not a steady diet, and it can produce fatty livers and early death in birds.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Neighbours have feeders, as well, so there will be other options.

rooeytoo's avatar

Why not a mix? I buy what is called a “wild bird mix” and it has something for everyone. I have finches, wrens, maggies, sparrows, rosellas, cockatoos, etc. etc.. I love the diversity that a mix invites.

Unbroken's avatar

@KNOWITALL my friend the animal and bird expert agrees with you. She calls them the crack cocaine of the bird world.

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