Species Variety in Backyard Bird Feeding
The species you attract is determined primarily by the seeds you offer.
Black oil sunflower is the hands-down favorite of all the birds that visit tube and house type feeders. White proso millet is favored by birds who visit platform feeders (doves and sparrows). Ducks, geese and quail will eat corn.
Many of the cereal grains (corn, milo, oats, canary, wheat, rape, flax and buckwheat) in mixed bird seeds are NOT favorites of birds that visit tube feeders.
Watch a feeder filled with a seed mix and you'll see the birds methodically drop or kick out most of the seeds to get to their favorite -- sunflower.
Birds will also kick out artificial "berry" pellets, processed seed flavored and colored to look like "real" fruit.
Seeds that wind up on the ground are likely to be contaminated by dampness and bird droppings. If the birds don't eat them, rodents will.
The most effective way to attract the largest variety of birds to your yard is to put out separate feeders for each food:
a) A starling-resistant suet feeder
b) A house feeder for sunflower
c) A bluebird feeder
d) A wire mesh cage feeder for peanuts
e) A nectar feeder
f) A tube feeder for thistle
g) A stationary or tray fruit feeder
h) A house or platform feeder for millet.
This article was written by the DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE