Wild Bird Seed - bird seed
Seed is probably the most common wild bird food, many species of birds are seed eaters and the commonest feeder on sale is the cylindrical plastic feeder which is often sold full of seeds.
Seed mixtures mixed bird seed is sold as 'seed mixtures' that can contain a wide variety of seeds. Some are called 'Deluxe' and some come in bulk. Please see our specialist page on Wild Bird Seed Mixtures to choose the one that is best for you. Below is a guide to the commonest seeds you will find and the birds that like them.
Hemp seed is eaten by chaffinch, greenfinch, brambling, house sparrow, great tit, blue tit, willow tit, marsh tit, tree sparrow, and bullfinch.
Oats, pieces of bread, cooked unsalted rice: house sparrow, yellowhammer, crows, and magpies.
Tallow, lard, fat, coconut fat and unsalted butter: suitable for birds who feed on insects, such as tits, goldcrest, robin, woodpeckers and, of course, magpies and other corvids.
Linseed: brambling, tree sparrow, house sparrow, common redpoll, chaffinch, siskin and greenfinch.
Apples, pears, bananas, rowanberries and white beam berries: popular among blackbirds, robins, blackcaps, and starlings.
Small seeds like millet, wild bird seed, linseed among others: attract small birds, sparrows, goldfinches, other finches, and dunnocks.
Wheat and barley: is best avoided as it is only eaten by wood pigeon, pheasants and stock doves, and these are best not attracted to your garden as they will scare away smaller birds as well as make a mess.
Crushed oats: eaten by lots of bird species, but too much will, if left uneaten grow mould, so best used very sparringly and leftover cleared up before it gets damp.
Sunflower seeds: greenfinch, great tit, nuthatch, bullfinch and hawfinch. Sunflower seeds come in two main varieties just the kernel or with the shell on.
Black sunflower seeds: excellent food all year round, even more popular than peanuts with some species. There are more oils in the black seeds than the striped ones, and these are much better for birds.
Beech must [seeds]: chaffinch, brambling and nuthatch. If you have a beech tree in your garden, this will keep many birds fed through winter as long as squirrels don't hog the lot.
Peanuts in a net bag: fatty and popular food for greenfinches, tits, sparrows, nuthatches, green woodpeckers and siskins. Do not give them salted or roasted peanuts as these will harm birds. Buy the seeds in a pet or specialised food store so that you can be certain that they are free from aflatoxin, which cheap supplies in discount stores may be contaminated with.