what’s in wild bird seed

Golden millet, red millet, flax, and others

Although packaged bird seed mixes frequently contain these seeds as fillers, the majority of birds avoid them. Waste seed quickly contaminates fresh seed by serving as a haven for bacteria and fungi. Verify the ingredients list of bird seed mixtures and steer clear of ones that contain these seeds. Specifically, ensure that the small, red seeds in a seed mix are milo or sorghum and not red millet if there are a lot of them.

Shelled and cracked corn

Among the many species that consume corn are the cardinals, grosbeaks, grouse, pheasants, turkeys, quails, jays, doves, ducks, cranes, and crows. Unfortunately, corn has two serious problems. First of all, House Sparrows, cowbirds, starlings, geese, bears, raccoons, and deer all like it; none of them should receive our financial assistance. Second, aflatoxins, which are extremely toxic even at low levels, are most likely to contaminate corn as bird food. Never purchase corn in plastic bags, keep it dry, don’t give it in quantities too large to eat in one sitting during rainy or extremely humid weather, and be sure to rake up any leftover corn.

Check Out Project FeederWatch For More Resources Illustration by Justine Lee Hirten.

Never offer corn covered in a red dye. Corn that is meant to be planted is frequently treated with fungicides and labeled with a warning red dye. It is highly toxic to humans, livestock, and all birds.

Never offer buttered popcorn or any kind of microwave popcorn. Popped corn spoils quickly.

On tray feeders, corn should be provided in relatively small amounts at a time. Don’t offer it in tube feeders that could harbor moisture.

Jays, crows, chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, and many other species love peanuts, but squirrels, bears, raccoons, and other animals that shouldn’t be supported also like peanuts. Similar to corn, peanuts are highly likely to contain aflatoxins, so they need to be kept dry and consumed quickly.

If jays arrive at the feeders before the squirrels, you can offer them as a special treat by placing peanuts in their shells on platform feeders, directly on a deck railing, or in a window feeder. In the event that peanuts or mixes of peanuts and other seeds are provided in tube feeders, be sure to regularly replace the seed, especially in the event of rainy or humid weather, and to thoroughly empty and clean the tube each time.

Milo is a favorite with many Western ground-feeding birds. In tests of seed preferences conducted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Steller’s Jays, Curve-billed Thrashers, and Gambel’s Quails favored milo over sunflower. In a different study, cowbirds consumed milo while house sparrows did not.

Milo ought to be strewn about on low tray feeders or the ground. Stop offering it if you’re subsidizing cowbirds.


What is the main ingredient in bird seed?

The most commonly used birdseed ingredients are sunflowers, corn, millet, fruits (such as raisins and cherries), and peanuts. Many of these crops come from Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota. One of the primary ingredients in birdseed is sunflower seeds.

Can humans eat wild bird seed?

Bird seed is not toxic to humans but is not recommended for consumption as it is not processed for human dietary standards. Is There Nutritional Value In Bird Seed For Humans? Bird seed contains proteins, fats, and fibers, which can offer some nutritional value but aren’t balanced for human nutrition.

What bird seeds to avoid?

But, the cheap filler seeds in economy mixes, such as wheat, cracked corn, milo, and oats, are not birds’ favorite foods. These grains have less overall nutrition and only appeal to a limited number of bird species. They may even be tossed out of a feeder or left to spoil and rot.

What should be in wild bird seed?

Ideally, 75 percent of the seeds offered to birds at your feeders should be black oil sunflower seeds. White proso millet seeds are round, golden brown and shiny. They are favorites of white-throated, fox, chipping and other sparrows.