More and more people in the watershed are discovering the joy of feeding birds. This is especially true in winter, when there is less foliage to obstruct one’s view of the birds, who flock to feeders when other sources of food become less abundant. This growing hobby has not been lost on suppliers, who offer a wide variety of seeds and mixtures to choose from. Choosing the right mixture for a feeder depends on which of the birds found in your area that you want to attract. Avid feeder watchers already know the “preferred foods” of many backyard birds. Can you match up the species below with the menu most likely to attract them?

1. American Goldfinch

2. Blue Jay

3. Brown Thrasher

4. Cardinal, Evening Grosbeak, Pine Sisken & Purple Finch

5. Chickadee

6. Dark-eyed Junco

7. Field, Song & Tree Sparrows

8. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

9. Rufous-sided Towhee

10. White-breasted Nuthatch

A. White & red proso millet

B. All types of sunflower seeds: hulled, oil (also known as black) & striped sunflower seeds

C. Hulled & oil sunflower seeds

D. Peanut kernels, all types of sunflower seeds

E. Oil & striped sunflower seeds, peanut hearts

F. Black-striped sunflower seeds

G. White proso millet

H. Suet

I. Niger thistle, hulled & oil sunflower seeds

J. Finely cracked corn, white & red proso millet, canary seed


1. I 2. D 3. C 4. B 5. E 6. J 7. A 8. H 9. G 10. F

4-Star Feeders

Just like any human restaurant, it takes more than a great menu to attract repeat customers. To improve the “ambiance” of your feeder,

  • Offer a source of water, such as a birdbath, nearby
  • Make sure the feeder is located in a “safe” place away from areas where predators can lie in wait.
  • Keep the feeder consistently filled.
  • Cleanliness counts. Moldy seed at the bottom of a feeder can carry diseases.
  • Use the appropriate feeder for both the type of seed and species of bird that you are trying to attract.
  • Keep the feeder away from areas where pesticides and other harmful chemicals have been used.