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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Bird Seed

    What kind of seed does one need to out into a feeder to attract song birds?

    We have several feeders and get lots of birds. They're filled with black sunflower seeds. Is it true the mixed seed is better for the song birds or is this hype to get you to buy the more expensive seed?
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    I usually get the wild bird seed at TSC. You can get it in large bags, pretty cheaply. I think sunflower is mostly for Cardinals, and millet attracts Doves. Thistle brings in the finches. I also use suet cakes, (also from TSC, because they are less than $1 each, bought in 12 count boxes). Many birds enjoy those, including Woodpeckers.

    I have also ordered suet cakes in bulk from Home page Nottawa Wild Bird Supply, and been pleased with the service and products.
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    I find the mixed seed better. I also really like the ones that are "clean" with no hulls or corn. The such flower hulls can leave a big mess.

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    2LaneCruzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieselshadow View Post
    What kind of seed does one need to out into a feeder to attract song birds?

    We have several feeders and get lots of birds. They're filled with black sunflower seeds. Is it true the mixed seed is better for the song birds or is this hype to get you to buy the more expensive seed?
    I have concocted a mix that works pretty well, and with minimal waste. I just mix it intuitively, but here's an approximation:

    85 - 90% sunflower seed
    10-15% mixture of (a) Chicken scratch (a prepared mix of cracked corn, grain sorghum and I believe some millet), (b) quail grass and (c) finch food.

    This mix attracts all varieties of birds, with the exception of maybe Bluebirds and other bug/worm eaters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieselshadow View Post
    What kind of seed does one need to out into a feeder to attract song birds?
    The kind that repels grey tree rats and cats.

    Seriously though, different birds go after different seeds/feed. My mom must have five different types of seed she uses, and they all go into different feeders. Unfortunately, squirrels have no such preference.
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    2LaneCruzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy b. View Post
    The kind that repels grey tree rats and cats.

    Seriously though, different birds go after different seeds/feed. My mom must have five different types of seed she uses, and they all go into different feeders. Unfortunately, squirrels have no such preference.
    My bird feeder is set on a piece of gas pipe about 5 foot tall with a squirrel guard. No problem with squirrels, but that Rackety Coon Chile' is not deterred by a little squirrel shield.
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    IMO,the sunflower seed is the best "all around seed". Yes,it's messy,but it's a part of feeding birds. The mix might get different birds,but we've yet to see it,and we've been feeding for about 20 years.

    Even the woodpeckers will get used to seeds. I made a suet feeder that had the cages upside down,where we figured only the woodpeckers or the clingers would be able to hold on. Yeah,right! The Blue Jays and the Crows somehow manage to constantly clean them out. Hardly ever saw a pecker on them,so we stopped with the suet.

    The non seed eating birds won't go to a feeder no matter what you put out. Then again,it might depend on your geographic area too. Some types of non seed eaters may show up. The only way we see the non seed eaters is when they come to the heated bird bath. Works out really well too.

    We don't mind indirectly feeding the squirrel community, but the 'coons have cost us a lot in feeder replacement over the years. Just lost another a few days ago, and I'm fed up enough to where I'm just about ready to start shooting!
    Last edited by glc; 03-16-2014 at 02:33 PM.
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    This time of year, my feeders get ambushed with unwanted black birds. I have to chase them off in order for the doves and small birds to get any seed.

    Ace Hardware sometimes has a sale on mixed seed. Seems to attract a wide variety of birds.

    Been seeing more squirrels than usual so I keep putting out lots of unshelled pecans for them. That has kept them away from the feeders for now.

    On a pole feeder I installed a piece of hardware cloth at the top of pole to protect the birds from the cats.



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    We use mostly black oil sunflower seed (#1), most birds like it. I also have a platform feeder a little ways away from the sunflower feeder that gets mostly cracked corn (chop), helps keep the Bluejays & sparrows occupied & away from the main feeder. Suet blocks (not visible) for the woodpeckers & a big "fruit & nut" block (#2) nearby. We usually go through 200+ lbs of black oil & 100 lbs. of cracked corn/year. Three boxes (12 pk) of suet & 3-4 fruit & nut blocks this season. ~~ Lowell

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    Last edited by grnspot110; 03-16-2014 at 04:39 PM.

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    I run 3 feeders on posts (black oil round screen feeder, mix on a platform and suet block cage) and 1rotating arm "squirrel spinner" corn cob feeder. (Fun watching newer ones try to figure it out!) Squirrels and coons are not able to bypass my home made guards, lengths of 6" stove pipe w/caps centered on the poles just under the feeder. One gear clamp on the pole under the bottom cap keeps it up under the feeder. Every once in a while a squirrel will run up the pole... and then slide back down cussing, they never learn!

    Unless your coons can wrestle the pipe out of the ground (I've had some try!) the feeders are varmint proof. Bears are not covered by this warranty!

    I've tried all local brands of "mixed seed" and they all contain a couple types of seeds that the birds leave alone. Little round "parakeet seeds" and some little flat ones. I usually do my own mix, cracked corn/black oil/peanut pieces small and large, etc. Squirrels get cob corn along with the ground birds "critter mix" - usually black sunflower/peanut/corn, etc. We love watching the squirrels and they cannot waste any of the feed in the feeders, I let the blue jays and black bird varietys do that...

    Yesterday was our first redwing blackbird song, he was under the mixed seed platform feeder and on the sunflower. My favorite song of Spring!
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