Contrary to popular belief, not all bird seed sold is the same.
Important Factors Include:
- How old the seed is.
- How was the seed stored throughout the year
- How much filler is used in seed mixes
- How long has the seed been on the shelves in either the store or at the distributor
Birds require large amounts of fuel to keep going. Black Oil Sunflower seed is 30% fat, providing the energy birds need for their fast metabolism, as well as the fat needed to survive cold temperatures and migration. For this reason, it is the seed of choice and feeds 85% of our seed eating birds. Black Oil can be fed in two ways: in shell, or shelled and chopped (sunflower chips). Sunflower Chips are the most popular way to feed Black Oil because it doesn't grow and all birds eat it. In fact, no shells mean that the birds get 100% of the energy of the seed - no energy goes to opening the shell. In periods of high stress, like nesting or cold weather, this extra energy can be critical. Another important seed in Nyjer. Traditionally the favourite food of goldfinches and pine siskins, it is very high in protein and fat, making it a valuable seed for young nestlings who require a higher level of protein in their diet. Other birds will eat Nyjer, especially if it is mixed with fine sunflower chips. We have several chickadees, dark eyed juncos and house finches in our yard who eat it regularly. Peanuts also supply a high level of fat for the birds and have the advantage of being available in both shelled and unshelled.
The majority of backyard birds, with the exception of some birds like House Sparrows and Pigeons, do not eat grains (corn, wheat, barley, red milo etc). In many "economical" seeds, these are considered fillers and used in large quantities to keep the price down. Grains are like feeding birds bread- high in fiber and carbohydrates but very little fats or proteins. And because few birds like to eat these seeds, it all ends up on the ground under your feeder, creating a perfect breeding ground for disease and a huge attraction to rodents.
Black Oil Sunflower Sunflower Chips
White Proso Millet Nyjer Seed
Birds on the West Coast eat only five main seeds: Black Oil Sunflower, Sunflower Chips, White Proso Millet, Nyjer, and Peanuts. Any other seeds will only go to waste. We have mixed our own blends for several years, using only the seeds that birds eat. We also only use the years current crop of seed, so our seed is always fresh. Fresh seed has no odor, is shiny instead of dull, and (in Black Oil Sunflower and Nyjer) black rather than grey. Any seed that does not have these characteristics is old and should not be used.
Wild Birds Unlimited Blends
Wild Birds Unlimited has designed many different blends that are filled with foods that are high in fats, protein, and other important nutrients that wild birds need. One addition that you will find exclusively in these blends is calcium. Calcium, found in our No Mess Plus Blend, is as important to birds as it is to us but has always been very difficult to supply. The only way that you used to be able to add this mineral was to boil egg shells, grind them up, and mix with your bird seed. And as I did just that when my finches had nestlings, I can tell you that it is a lot of work. Calcium is necessary for normal bone development and egg production making it an important year round food.
Our number one seed blend in our No Mess Low Millet (LM). This sunflower chip based seed blend also contains Hulled Millet and shelled Peanut Pieces so it is a perfect food for all species of birds from towhees to woodpeckers. And if you prefer to not feed millet at all, try our No Mess No Millet (NM).
No Mess Low Millet
- our Number 1 bird food
- includes medium sunflower chips, hulled millet and peanut pieces.
- a clean way to feed all your backyard birds, both ground and feeder birds
No Mess No Millet
- includes medium sunflower chips, chopped tree nuts and peanut pieces.
- great mix for decks, patios or for people who don't want to feed millet.
No Mess Plus Blend
- includes medium sunflower chips, shelled peanuts, chopped tree nuts, peanut suet nuggets, cherries, cranberries and calcium carbonate.
- this blend is a good mix for nesting season
Tree Nutty Plus Blend
- a selection of chopped peanuts and tree nuts like walnuts, pecans, cashews and almonds.
- favourite food for nut eating birds, jays and squirrels.
Supreme LM Blend
- includes black oil sunflower, medium sunflower chips, white proso millet and striped sunflower
- good black oil mix for all birds in your backyard
Choice Plus Blend
- black oil sunflower, med sunflower chips, shelled peanuts, peanut suet nuggets, cherries, tree nuts, safflower, cranberries, striped sunflower, calcium carbonate
- includes black oil sunflower, white proso millet, striped sunflower, safflower.
- This less expensive, high millet blend is good for feeding ground birds
- mix of fine sunflower chips and nyjer seed
- good mix for finches, pine siskins and other birds that like sunflower chips
- feed in a finch feeder.
Come in for a look at "the best bird seed in town!" (fillers and sticks not available with this bird seed).
Special Foods for Special Needs
Even when you are feeding the best bird food for your backyard friends, there are still some times when extra nutrition is required. Or you need to use a quick deterrent for some persistent critters. Wild Birds Unlimited has specialty foods that can help with that.
Our Nesting Blend is a high protein, high fat food, calcium rich food that supplies the extra nutrients birds need during nesting season. Nesting season is very difficult on adult birds, similar to the stresses they undergo during the coldest winters, and a nutrient rich food is very important to their survival (as well as producing healthy baby birds). Our Nesting Blend contains sunflower chips, tree nuts, Bark Butter Bits, mealworms and calcium carbonate. Available in both a 6 lb resealable bag and a small cylinder.
Rodents love a free meal and to them, that is what your bird feeder is - lunch. There are many products that you can use to keep squirrels and rats away from your feeders but one of the most successful is hot pepper products. Hot pepper works so well because birds and mammals taste foods differently; birds do not have a taste receptor for heat in their mouths and so they cannot taste the hot food. To them, it;s just bird food. Mammals chew their food so the capsaicin (the chemical found in peppers) is immediately released in their mouths causing an unpleasant reaction. So while mammals will leave this food alone, birds will enjoy a quiet meal.*
Fiery Feast contains sunflower chips, nuts and comes in a screw top 7 lb bag. Use caution whenever you use a hot pepper product. Do not inhale any fumes (stand downwind) and use gloves if it may come in contact with your bare skin.
Same as the Fiery Feast but without the nuts.
DANGER: Noxious Weeds
For years we have been telling everyone how important it is to feed your birds quality food. Bird seed that is filled with fillers is usually older and not as nutritious, can be very messy since birds throw out the seed that they don't want while searching for Black Oil or Sunflower Chips, and can be a true waste of money. But recently, a more sinister reason has surfaced not to purchase "bargain seed."
Studies have shown that some mixed bird seeds can also contain weeds and noxious seeds. These dangerous seeds are usually very hardy and invasive, and can pose a real threat to our local environment. Imagine finding binderweed (wild morning glory) growing underneath your feeder - one of the most difficult plants to remove from your yard (trust me, I know). The real danger is that these noxious plants may take hold in our agricultural land, resulting in high costs in labor and herbicides to remove them. So be careful when choosing your bird seed. Any brand that has fillers in it may result in you bringing home an unwanted visitor.