Many gardeners are bird lovers and for good reason!
Birds are important predators of insects that damage our gardens during the growing season. They also provide us with beauty and amusement during the cold winter as they flock to our bird feeders. Birding as a hobby currently ranks second only to gardening as America’s favorite pastime with an estimated 43% of all U.S. households or about 65 million people participating each year.
Winter bird feeding can also be educational as children and adults can easily learn how to recognize the feathered visitors perched right outside a convenient window by using a good identification book.
During the spring and summer most songbirds feed on very nutritious and readily available insects and spiders. However, in the winter non-migratory species must change their diet to fruits and seeds. This is where we can provide some help in the form of purchased birdseed.
It is true that different species of birds have different preferences for seeds but it can be very expensive to try to provide everything any bird would want. The trick is to provide the seed that most songbirds will eat and the most preferred type of birdseed, by far, is black oil sunflower seed.
Food can be a great magnet for attracting birds, but it helps to know the preferences of some of your feeder visitors. By offering a variety of foods that appeal to different species, backyard birds will respond with enthusiasm.
Below is a list of birds common to our area with a list of the types of seed they prefer to eat: