what wild birds eat safflower seeds

Are you familiar with the bright, beautiful orange flower that is the safflower? If so, you’re probably aware of its gorgeous hue and the rich flavor safflower oil provides in cooking. But what you may not know is that safflower seeds are also cultivated as precious bird food!

The safflower plant (Carthamus tinctorius) is grown as a crop in many areas throughout the world, including parts of the United States, Canada, India, Mexico, Ethiopia, China, Argentina, and Iran. The gorgeous color and flavorful oil aside, safflower is also an important wild bird feed for various songbirds.

Safflower seeds are small but come with a hard shell that some birds (and pets) find difficult to crack open. This type of wild bird seed is an annual species in the same plant family as the sunflower, which makes it an easy pairing when putting together wild bird feed mixes. The seed itself is white and angular. Size-wise, it’s slightly larger than a popcorn kernel but just smaller than a black oil sunflower seed with a similarly tapered shape.

Safflower seeds aren’t for everyone – in fact, they’re often not even most wild birds’ first choice. Despite being bitter and requiring some work, however, these seeds are a vital part of several birds’ diets. Several types of wild birds that eat safflower seeds include:

So why do birds eat safflower seeds? The nutritional content is pretty impressive. Safflower seeds are so good for birds because of their strong nutritional profile. With 38% fat, 16% protein, and 34% carbohydrates, these seeds provide birds with an exceptional source of energy.

It doesn’t matter that safflower seeds are so small in size; many birds still tend to crack them open to eat them so they can access the seed’s inner meat. Every once in a while, however, you’ll find a bird (like doves) that eats the safflower seed whole.

Why do birders like filling their bird feeders with safflower seed? Arguably the best thing about safflower isn’t even the seed itself; it’s that squirrels don’t like to eat the seeds! Squirrels, grackles (namely blackbirds), starlings, and most other pesky animals steer clear of safflower seeds due to their bitter taste and exceptionally hard shells. Filling your birdfeeder with safflower seeds, or even putting a wild bird feed mix with safflower seeds in it into your feeder is a great way to deter bully birds from dominating your backyard.

Another advantage of safflower seeds for birders is that this is a no-mess bird food. Even the birds that crack open the shells and leave the husks on the ground don’t leave behind the same clutter that would ensue from sunflower seeds. Safflower husks easily blow away in the wind, making them ideal for birders looking to keep their backyards neat and tidy.

Follow these bird feeding tips if you’re new to bringing safflower to your backyard bird feeders:

1) Give it time. Even the birds that are known for eating safflower seeds, like cardinals, may take some time to get accustomed to eating it on a regular basis.

2) Ease safflower seeds into a wild bird seed mix. Consider this as a tip from one bird-feeding family to another: mix safflower in with other wild bird feed or use a pre-made bird seed blend with safflower, like the Valley Farms® Cardinal Mix Wild Bird Food, which includes striped and black oil sunflower seed, buckwheat, and of course safflower seed. Let the birds get used to eating safflower seeds before you fill the whole bird feeder with them.

3) The best type of bird feeder for safflower seeds is a large hopper feeder, tube feeder, or platform feeder. If youre looking to attract cardinals, we suggest a large hopper or a platform feeder over a tube feeder, as they need more space. It’s also fine to scatter the seeds on the ground near shrubs and sheltered areas for ground-feeders.

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2) Ease safflower seeds into a wild bird seed mix. From one bird-feeding family to another, take note of this advice: combine safflower with other wild bird feed or use a pre-made blend of bird seeds that includes safflower, such as Valley Farms® Cardinal Mix Wild Bird Food, which also contains buckwheat, striped and black oil sunflower seed, and of course safflower seed. Before you fill the bird feeder to the brim with safflower seeds, give the birds some time to get used to eating them.

Given the impressive nutritional value of safflower seeds, one may wonder why birds consume them. The robust nutritional profile of sunflower seeds explains why they are so beneficial to birds. These seeds offer birds a remarkable source of energy because they contain fat, protein, and carbohydrates in equal amounts (%2038%, %2016%).

Safflower seed is a favorite among birdwatchers because squirrels, grackles (blackbirds), starlings, and most other troublesome animals avoid eating it because of its bitter flavor and unusually hard shells. In fact, the best thing about safflower seed is probably not the seed itself! To prevent bully birds from taking over your backyard, try adding safflower seeds to your birdfeeder or using a wild bird feed mix that contains safflower seeds.

When you’re ready to try something new with safflower seeds, get some fresh, clean safflower seeds from me. You can find it in our specially blended wild bird seed mixes or purchase plain safflower seed. Orders yours today!.

Small in size, safflower seeds have a hard shell that can be challenging for certain birds (and pets) to crack open. Since this kind of wild bird seed is an annual species belonging to the same family as sunflowers, combining it with sunflowers in wild bird feed mixes is simple. The seed itself is white and angular. In terms of size, it is marginally bigger than a popcorn kernel, but it is almost the same size as a black oil sunflower seed, which has a similar tapering shape.

The antics of these forest-dwelling jays with their sapphire blue bodies and smoky-black crested heads delight people living west of the Rocky Mountains. While having a picnic, you might notice one or two of these birds hiding in hopes of receiving a handout. They will frequently travel back and forth from the feeder in the fall, which is a reliable indicator that they are filling up their winter cache.

These crimson beauties sing beautiful, warbling songs in the springtime that resemble “Cheer! Cheer! Cheer!” usually from the top of the tallest tree. Look very high to see them perched there before the leaves emerge. Because these year-round visitors don’t migrate, they will always be among your regular visitors as long as your feeders are filled.

Similar to the woodpecker, the early spring is your only opportunity to get a close-up view of the nuthatches as they soar in for a rest. By summer, these nimble little birds will be climbing trees and craning their necks to search for insects. They will hop up and around the vertical surfaces with incredible ease and dexterity.

Woodpeckers visit feeders often in the early spring, before insects begin to emerge, in pursuit of high-protein food sources. A sight to behold when one of these magnificent birds touches down. They will be hopping up and around tree trunks and branches in search of food as the weather warms.


Will cardinals eat safflower seeds?

Safflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, and white milo are among a Northern Cardinal’s favorite seed options. In addition to large seeds, Cardinals enjoy eating crushed peanuts, cracked corn, and berries. During the winter, small chunks of suet are another great choice.

Do birds have to crack open safflower seeds?

It doesn’t matter that safflower seeds are so small in size; many birds still tend to crack them open to eat them so they can access the seed’s inner meat. Every once in a while, however, you’ll find a bird (like doves) that eats the safflower seed whole.

Which is better for birds safflower or sunflower seeds?

sunflower — will attract the greatest variety of birds. Sunflower seeds are the seeds favored by most seed-eating birds, some 40 species including cardinals, tufted titmice, Carolina chickadees, house and purple finches, American goldfinches, brown-headed nuthatches, and red-bellied woodpeckers, to name a few.

Do goldfinches eat safflower seeds?

Safflower seed, although they’ll eat it, is not their favorite choice, and they tend to stay away from those feeders. Squirrels do not particularly like this seed either. If you want goldfinches at your feeders, then this seed is something you should not do without.