Wild Bird Articles

Best 7 Bird Foods for the Winter Season

Feeding the birds in winter can be a rewarding way to enjoy birding in your backyard when the weather outside is less than ideal. If you offer the best winter bird foods, you will find a greater variety of birds visiting your feeders even on the coldest days. While you want to be sure to offer the foods that your specific backyard birds like best, these top foods are excellent choices for many common winter birds. All of these foods offer great nutrition, and their high caloric content will give birds plenty of energy to build fat reserves for frigid winter nights.

1) Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
Black oil sunflower seeds are by far the best food to offer birds in any season. These seeds have slightly thinner shells and higher oil content than other types of sunflower seeds, making them a more efficient and nutritious food. They will attract a wide range of hungry birds and can be offered in platform, tube or hopper feeders as well as sprinkled on the ground or a table or railing.

2) Suet
For high calories, suet is one of the best foods to offer birds. While many birders prefer to avoid suet because it can melt in warmer weather, it is superb winter food. It is also available in many blends with different ingredients to tempt different species of birds. You can try different suet shapes for more feeding fun, including balls, bells, and wreaths.

3) Peanuts
Peanuts are a high-calorie, fat-rich nut that appeals to many backyard birds, including jays, titmice, nuthatches, and chickadees. Because the nuts don't freeze, they are perfect for winter feeding, whether you offer whole or shelled peanuts. Peanuts are also popular to mix in suet for winter feed.
Do not, however, offer birds flavored peanuts or any peanuts with candy or chocolate coatings.

4) Nyjer/Thistle
Nyjer or thistle seed is a favorite food of winter finches such as pine siskins and common redpolls. This is another oily seed that offers a lot of calories, helping birds store the fat they need to keep warm through the season. Nyjer is typically treated so as not to germinate if spilled on the ground. Offer nyjer in a mesh or sock feeder that can accommodate many birds, but keep it covered with a wide upper baffle to keep the seed dry and minimize mildew.

5) Millet
White millet is a favorite food of many small ground-feeding birds, particularly dark-eyed juncos and other types of sparrows, as well as many doves. This starchy grain can be easily offered in hopper, tube, or platform feeders, and sprinkling it on the ground will attract even more small birds. Millet is often a large component of many different birdseed mixes.

6) Seed Mixes
For convenient and economical winter feeding, nothing beats a good quality bird seed mix. Choose a mix that features large proportions of sunflower seeds and millet, but avoid mixes with large amounts of unappetizing fillers such as wheat, milo, and corn. Better mixes may also include nuts and nut pieces birds will enjoy. You may also want to try different mixes to attract different types of birds.

7) Fruit
While a lot of birds that eat fruit will migrate in the winter, many other birds that stay in snowy areas year-round will enjoy the treat. Offer chopped apples, orange wedges, banana slices, halved grapes, and melon rinds on platform feeders, spikes, or nailed to trees. Chopped or dried fruit can also be added to suet mixtures, or you might try a garland strung with cranberries or other fruit for a festive feeder.

Share this on Twitter  |  Share this on Facebook  |  Email to a friend.

Copyright © 2022 Pet Food Plus  |  Eau Claire, WI  |  Website design and hosting by First Net Impressions, LLC