Do you want to increase the odds of seeing some of these birds, and others, at your backyard feeder but are puzzled about what to feed them? Instead of trying to solve this problem on your own, we are supplying the answers up front.

Here are some general guidelines to help you get started:

  • Once you start winter feeding, put food out on a regular basis.
  • If the weather is particularly severe, feeding birds high-fat (energy-filled) seeds in the morning and early afternoon will give them the extra edge they need to get through cold days as well as build up fat reserves to survive freezing nights.
  • Feeders with a roof or covering will keep out freezing rain and snow. Also try to set out water on a regular basis. Locate your feeder near trees, bushes or fixtures where birds can fly to seek shelter from any predators drawn by their presence at the feeder.

Black Oil Sunflower Seeds: If there is one overall best winter seed for the widest range of bird species, this is it. Its oily content is high in energy and its thin shells, are easy to open. Some bird species that prefer other seeds will also eat black oil these seeds. These birds eat black oil sunflower seeds: Northern cardinal, tufted titmouse, mourning dove, gray catbird, evening grosbeak, common grackle, purple and house finches, pine siskin, American goldfinch, blue jay, black-capped and Carolina chickadees, sparrows, red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches, as well as downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers. The northern bobwhite, ruffed grouse, ring-necked pheasant and turkey eat these seeds when they are scattered on the ground.

Peanuts: Common grackle, American crow, blue jay, common raven, yellow-bellied sapsucker, northern cardinal, dark-eyed junco, tufted titmouse, black-capped and Carolina chickadees, red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches, Carolina and house wrens, mourning and rock doves, as well as downy, hairy, red-bellied and pileated woodpeckers

Nyjer seeds: House and purple finches, song sparrow, American goldfinch, pine siskin, mourning dove, hoary and common redpolls, dark-eyed juncos

Millet: Carolina wren, dark-eyed junco, house finch, mourning dove, northern cardinal, pine siskin, snow bunting, sparrows, northern bobwhite, ruffed grouse, ring-necked pheasant

Suet: Black-capped chickadee, brown creeper, Carolina wren, white-breasted and red-breasted nuthatches, tufted titmouse, American robin, Eastern bluebird, northern cardinal, northern mockingbird, blue jay, red-winged blackbird, and downy, hairy, pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers