do birds eat the whole sunflower seed

Which birds eat sunflower seeds? A better question might be which birds don’t! Sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts are a real favourite for garden birds including blue tits, sparrows, dunnocks, collared doves finches and more. When it comes to choosing sunflower seeds for garden birds there are several options available. In this article, we are going to look at which to choose and how and when to offer them.

Which Birds Eat Sunflower Seeds?

All garden birds love sunflower seeds as a food source, and because they come in a range of sizes and varieties, both small and large birds can benefit from them.

These birds are especially fans:

What Are The Different Types of Sunflower Seeds?

For birds, there are three varieties of sunflower seeds that are easily accessible.

These are the seeds or the sunflowers you might grow in your garden.

Actually, keeping the seed heads of the sunflowers you have grown and placing them on the bird table is a great way to give sunflower seeds to your garden birds.

Nutritious striped sunflower seeds will be well-received by numerous birds. However, they are fairly large seeds with tough husks. So smaller birds and softbills may struggle with them.

do birds eat the whole sunflower seed

Another problem with striped sunflower seeds is that most birds leave the husks behind, which can leave your lawn looking messy.

With sunflower seed husks the problem goes a bit beyond just mess. The seed husks contain an allelopathic chemical with can suppress or kill other plants. It’s nature’s way of suppressing competitive plants to give the seed a chance to germinate and grow. But when a concentration of sunflower seed husks falls on your lawn it’s just going to lead to bald patches.

Larger birds in your garden will primarily steal the seeds from your striped sunflower, such as:

Squirrels are also fans of these seeds. Therefore, placing a few of these on the ground, away from your bird table and feeders, may help deter larger birds and squirrels.

Are Sunflower Seeds Good For Birds?

Absolutely. Sunflower seeds are not only a great addition to a healthy diet for humans, but they also provide numerous benefits for our garden birds. Sunflower seeds are extremely nutritionally dense and offer birds:

  • High protein content
  • High fat content
  • Vitamins A, B, C and D
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium

All these nutrients are essential to the health of birds. Even though it may seem unhealthy to us, small birds that have trouble maintaining their body weight—especially during the chilly winter months—need the high fat content.


What part of the sunflower seed do birds eat?

He liked learning that some birds eat seeds in the feeder while some eat them somewhere else. Sunflower seeds are exactly the same no matter who is eating them. The shell is not digestible—it’s the seed within that has all the nutrition.

Do birds crack open sunflower seeds?

A downside to feeding sunflower seeds is that many birds such as cardinals and finches crack open seeds at the feeder. As a result, in a short time, the hulls build up. These hulls should be regularly removed.

Do birds eat the whole seed or just the inside?

Mostly they dehull the seed. Larger birds in particular will expertly dehull seeds, very visibly. You can see a large pile of shells, particularly sunflower seeds, under some bird feeders. Bird beaks are hollow with sharp edges and a very agile tongue.

Is it OK to eat the whole sunflower seed?

Sunflower seeds are usually sold with their shell intact. They are mostly eaten in their raw condition. To eat shelled sunflower seeds raw, you need to crack them apart using your teeth and spit out the shell. Please do not eat the shells are they indigestible and may damage your digestive tract.