Backyard Birds’ Favorite Bird Seed

Backyard Birds’ Favorite Bird Seed

Like us, backyard birds have unique food preferences.

Feeding differences vary from species to species ranging from plants and seeds to nuts and insects. Kaytee offers so many kinds of food that you’re bound to find seed, treats, or suet that will attract the bird you want to see. 

One common mistake made by beginner birders is not targeting the birds they wish to see in their yards. Birds are particular about food, so you can’t count on one type of food to attract all the birds in the neighborhood. Advanced birders have multiple feeders, trays, suet, and treats for the birds to attract the wide range of species you always see flocking their yards.  

Get started by deciding which birds you want to see. Bird species are in certain geographic locations based on the time of year and their migration pattern. Remember you might not have access to certain birds during all times of the year. 

Below is a list of common birds found across the U.S. and what each of them likes to eat. Give it a try by picking three birds and buying their favorite food to attract new backyard feathered friends.


American Cardinal

Favorite Foods:  Black oil sunflower, striped sunflower, sunflower hearts & chips, millet, safflower, cracked corn, peanuts, milo, mealworms, fruit, and suet.
Best Bird Feeders to Use: Platform, Hopper, or Suet Basket

American Cardinal


American Goldfinch

Favorite Foods: Nyjer seed, black oil sunflower, sunflower hearts & chips, millet, cracked corn, and peanuts.
Best Bird Feeders to Use: Tube or Nylon Sock Feeder 

 American Goldfinch

Black-Capped Chickadee

Favorite Foods:  Black oil sunflower, striped sunflower, sunflower hearts & chips, Nyjer seed, mealworms, safflower, peanut, and suet.
Best Bird Feeders to Use:  Hopper, Platform, Tube, Nylon Sock Feeder, or Suet Basket

Black-Capped Chickadee 


Blue Jay

Favorite Foods: Striped sunflower, black oil sunflower, millet, suet, peanuts, cracked corn, and safflower.
Best Bird Feeders to Use: Hopper, Platform, or Suet Basket

Blue Jay 


White-Breasted & Red-Breasted Nuthatches

Favorite Foods: Suet, black oil sunflower, striped sunflower, safflower, sunflower hearts & chips, peanuts, and cracked corn.
Best Bird Feeders to Use:  Hopper, Tube, Platform, Nylon Sock Feeder, or Suet Basket

 White-Breasted & Red-Breasted Nuthatches


Downy Woodpecker

Favorite Foods: Black oil sunflower, peanuts, suet, cracked corn, mealworms, and sunflower hearts & chips
Best Bird Feeders to Use:  Hopper, Platform, or Suet Basket 

Downy Woodpecker 

Tufted Titmouse

Favorite Foods:  Black oil sunflower, sunflower hearts & chips, striped sunflower, safflower, Nyjer seeds, peanuts, and suet.
Best Bird Feeders to Use:  Hopper, Tube, Platform, Nylon Sock Feeder, or Suet Basket

Tufted Titmouse


Evening Grosbeak

Favorite Foods: Black oil sunflower, striped sunflower, sunflower hearts & chips, cracked corn, and peanuts
Best Bird Feeders to Use: Platform or Hopper

 Evening Grosbeak


Song Sparrow

Favorite Foods: Millet, milo, cracked corn, black oil sunflower, striped sunflower, and Nyjer seeds
Best Bird Feeders to Use:  Platform, Hopper, Tube, or on the ground

 Song Sparrow


Indigo Bunting

Favorite Foods: Millet, cracked corn, Nyjer seeds, peanuts, milo, and fruit
Best Bird Feeders to Use: Hopper or Tube

Indigo Bunting 


Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Favorite Foods: Black oil sunflower, sunflower hearts & chips, suet, safflower, and cracked corn
Best Bird Feeders to Use: Platform, Hopper, or Suet Basket

Rose Breasted Grosbeak 

Hummingbird

Favorite Foods: Clear hummingbird nectar like ElectroNectar
Best Bird Feeders to Use:  Hummingbird feeder with red on it to attract hummingbirds (do not die nectar red)

Hummingbird 

In addition to individual seeds, Kaytee has crafted blends targeted to specific birds, like Woodpecker suet, the Cardinal blend, the Midwest regional blend, and others. These blends can be the perfect way to target multiple regional birds at once or certain species by having all their favorites in one blend. 

Now that you know which birds love certain seeds, pick a bird, get the food they love, and look for backyard visitors! Enjoy your new hobby of backyard birding, which is fun for you and good for the birds.

Post pictures of the birds visiting your yard on the Kaytee Wild Bird Facebook page! We love hearing and seeing which species visit your feeders and chow on their favorite seeds!

Ask the Wild Bird Experts