Whether you have a pet bird or just want to feed your backyard birds, you will need to use bird food. Most importantly, bird food is the best way to deliver all the essential nutrients to the birds. On the other hand, bird food helps attract more birds to your bird feeders.
For those who are looking for bird food, we are going to review 10 foods that we think are the best bird food products. We have made sure to review a variety of bird foods ranging from food for parrots to food for songbirds, so you may be able to find whatever you are looking for.
And in case you are a first-time bird food buyer, we have prepared a buying guide on bird food that explains its types, as well as things you should be wary of.
Not, let’s see what those 10 products are about!
Best Bird Foods In Market Now
- Wagner’s Farmer’s Delight Wild Bird Food
- Lyric Peanut Pieces Wild Bird Food, 15 lb.
- Wagner’s Greatest Variety Blend, 16-Pound Bag
- Kaytee Birders’ Blend, 8-Pound Bag
- ZuPreem Medium Fruit Blend Bird Diet
- Valley Splendor Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
- ZuPreem Natural Medium / Large Bird Food
- Pennington Ultra Fruit & Nut Blend Wild Bird Seed and Feed, 2.5 lbs.
- Lyric Fruit & Nut High Energy Wild Bird Mix – 5 lb. bag
- ZuPreem Natural Large Bird Food, 3-Pound
Our Top 10 Bird Food Reviews
Wagner’s Farmer’s Delight Wild Bird Food pack includes a whole lot of bird food types. The general-purpose mix of this bird food pack is a great choice if you don’t want to attract specific birds and just want to feed as many birds as possible. Apart from that, the cherry flavor of the pack will especially attract those birds that love cherry!
The capacity of Wagner’s Farmer’s Delight Wild Bird Food pack is 10 lbs., which is actually quite a lot of bird food. 10 pounds won’t run out any time soon if you have low to moderate bird traffic in the area. And even if there are a lot of birds around your house, getting a big bird food pack is a good idea!
- Has all kinds of general-purpose bird food.
- Large capacity.
- Great for birds that love cherry.
- The cherry flavor might repel some birds.
If you wanted something more specific, Lyrica Peanut Pieces bird food might be a nice choice. This particular bird food pack is suitable for such birds as bluebirds, jays, woodpeckers, house finches, titmice, grosbeaks, and several others. Lyric Peanut Pieces Wild Bird Food doesn’t have any flavors, so the desired birds won’t be repelled by the food’s unusual taste.
This bird food pack contains 15 lbs. of bird food, which means that you will have bird food for weeks to come. However, Lyric Peanut Pieces Wild Bird Food pack is rather expensive, though we can’t say that the price is unjustified as this product is of the highest quality.
- Comes in a large bag.
- Great for such birds as titmice, house finches, woodpeckers, and more.
- Weak packaging.
Looking for a way to attract colorful songbirds? Then Wagner’s Greatest Variety Blend might be the perfect choice as it consists of 11 different ingredients that are loved by the songbirds. Besides, about 40% of the bird food in this pack consists of sunflower seeds, which could be either a good or bad thing. If you don’t mind to have the general-purpose seeds for the value of this pack, then you may quit worrying.
What’s remarkable about this bird food pack is that it is huge: it contains 16 pounds of bird food! In spite of this, it is noticeably less expensive than the Lyric bird food we examined previously, but keep in mind that it might be due to the large amounts of regular sunflower seeds in this pack.
- Good price.
- Includes 11 ingredients to attract a variety of songbirds.
- Includes quite a lot of regular sunflower seeds.
Up next on our list of best bird food is the Birders’ Blend by Kaytee, which contains seeds that are in favor of various kinds of songbirds. Apart from that, the blend is great for such birds as woodpeckers, cardinals, juncos, and others.
The Birder’s Blend contains a considerable amount of sunflower seeds, which is quite favored by the birds this pack is designed for. On the other hand, the Birder’s Blend also contains quite a bit of millet, which some birds tend to avoid. If you know that the birds in your area won’t eat millet, look for another bird food pack.
In terms of seed capacity, this food pack offers quite a moderate amount of seeds: 8 pounds, to be exact. This will be quite good for most of the areas, though you might need to get more packs if your area is rich in birds.
- A good choice for larger birds like cardinals and woodpeckers.
- Includes a variety of seeds loved by songbirds.
- Good size.
- Might have too much millet for your taste.
- Contains cherry flavor.
ZuPreem Medium Fruit Blend bird food pack is a nice choice if you want to attract cockatiels, lovebirds, conures, and Quakers. They will certainly love the fruit blend of this bird food pack! Not only this bird food looks all colorful, but it also contains 21 vitamins and minerals that are pretty much all the essential nutrients necessary for the birds.
ZuPreem Medium Fruit Blend bird food pack will be a nice choice if you don’t have that much need for large packs. 2 pounds of fruit-blend bird food will be quite enough for the weeks to come if you will be feeding one-two pet birds. If that isn’t the case, you could certainly buy more packs, but be mindful that ZuPreem Medium Fruit Blend bird food is rather pricey.
You should also take into account that your bird might dislike the banana-shaped seeds of this food pack. Users even complained that their cockatiels just toss them out and eat the rest. The bad thing about it is that those bits take up about ¼ of the pack’s seed capacity.
- Contains fresh ground fruit.
- Attracts cockatiels, lovebirds, and other birds.
- Includes essential minerals and vitamins.
- A little bit expensive.
- Cockatiels tend to not like the banana-shaped seeds of this pack.
Don’t see any point in getting all those multi-ingredient bird food packs? Then have a look at Valley Splendor Black Oil Sunflower Seeds bird food! As you probably guessed from the name, this pack contains nothing other than black oil sunflower seeds!
In terms of attracting birds, sunflower seeds may be the best bird food you can get. Being general-purpose bird food, sunflower seeds attract many types of birds. On the other hand, sunflower seeds also attract squirrels and birds that could be undesirable for you, meaning that this pack should be used in a combination with a squirrel proof bird feeder!
What’s also notable about this bird food pack is that it contains 40 pounds of black oil sunflower seeds! If there is not so much bird traffic in your backyard, those 40 pounds might not run out even after weeks! And even if a lot of birds visit your bird feeder, you still won’t have to worry about getting a new bird food pack any time soon!
- A great attractor of backyard birds.
- Rich in fat and protein.
- Contains a lot of sunflower seeds.
- Perfect if you don’t need anything but sunflower seeds.
- Will also attract a lot of undesired birds and squirrels.
ZuPreem Natural Medium / Large Bird Food is a yet another bird food pack that contains quite a lot of minerals and vitamins, which will be especially good if your bird suffers from vitamin deficiency.
This bird food contains precisely formulated nugget shapes that are made with easily digestible grains, as well as vegetables. The vitamins and minerals contained in the bird food not only make for a complete nutritional profile but also help with the natural preservation of the bird food. There are thus no artificial preservatives in this bird food.
ZuPreem Natural Medium / Large Bird Food attracts small birds such as canaries, finches, budgies, and parakeets. However, keep in mind that the grains may be too big or/and tough for parakeets, so you might need to grind them up.
This bird food pack contains 2.25 pounds of grains, which will be perfectly alright if you are not going to feed a lot of birds. Otherwise, you could look for the bigger versions of the same bird food pack.
- Attracts small birds like finches, canaries, budgies, and parakeets.
- Provides birds with balanced nutrition.
- Contains essential vitamins and minerals.
- May be tough for parakeets.
Yet another bird food pack to attract songbirds with on our reviews best bird food! While this bird food pack is rather pricey for its size, it offers all-natural and quality food made with fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains. The ingredients of Pennington Ultra Fruit & Nut Blend are the favorite of chickadees, pine siskins, purple finches, and many other songbirds. Not only the birds will love such bird food, they will also get all the essential nutrients thanks to the balanced mineral and vitamin profile of this pack.
This particular Ultra Fruit & Nut Blend bird food pack is best suitable if there aren’t a lot of songbirds in your area. Otherwise, it would be more money saving for you to get a large pack of the Ultra Fruit & Nut Blend line.
A thing you should be mindful of is the large size of the nut included in this bird food pack. This means that bird feeders with smaller feeding ports might be unable to serve food to the birds. If you will be getting this pack anyway, you could just grind the larger nuts.
- Attracts colorful songbirds.
- Balanced nutritional value.
- Made with natural fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains.
- The large grains aren’t suitable for small bird feeders.
Lyric Fruit & Nut High Energy bird food pack is a rather nice choice if you are looking to attract robins, cardinals, woodpeckers, titmice, orioles, blue jays, and many other kinds of larger birds. The blend of 13 natural ingredients will surely be loved by the birds that visit your bird feeder.
This particular Fruit & Nut High Energy Wild Bird Mix comes in a 5-pound bag, which will be a good pick for low to moderate use. Even if there are a lot of birds in your backyard, this blend should last a couple of weeks.
Apart from the size, the package of this bird food is remarkable because it can be re-sealed after being opened, which can help you with keeping the bird food fresh longer.
Because this bird food pack consists of large grains, nuts, and seeds, it may be not very appropriate for smaller bird feeders, unless you are fine with grinding the food before putting it into the feeder. Apart from that, smaller birds won’t be able to handle this food well, so you would also need to grind it.
And also keep in mind that this pack contains lots of corn. If the birds in your area don’t eat corn, this bird food pack would pretty much be a waste of money.
- Includes a blend of fruits, seeds, and shell-less nuts.
- Contains 13 100% natural ingredients.
- Attracts colorful birds from robins to woodpeckers.
- Comes in a re-sealable package.
- Includes 5 pounds of bird food.
- Clogs smaller bird feeders.
- Contains a considerable amount of corn.
And the last pack on our reviews of best bird food is yet another natural bird food blend by ZuPreem! The big grains of this one are specifically designed for larger parrots like amazons, macaws, and cockatoos. This bird food contains all the essential vitamins, minerals, iron, and basically anything that your bird may need to flourish. Apart from that, this bird food pack doesn’t contain any artificial additives, only natural ingredients!
This particular ZuPreem Natural Large Bird Food comes in a 3-pound package, which will be enough for several weeks in case you will be feeding one-two large parrots. If that isn’t the case, there is a 20-pound version of this food pack that could come in handy.
And the downside (or maybe more like a specificity) of this high-quality bird food is its price. But because it does have all the nutrients that your bird needs, Natural Large Bird Food is well worth its price!
- Ideal for large parrots such as cockatoos, amazons, macaws.
- Provides a wholesome profile of essential nutrients.
- No artificial preservatives.
Your Bird Food Buying Guide
Alright, we have the best bird food packs, but how does one choose the right one? Let’s see what are the things you should be looking for with bird food!
Types of Bird Foods
Sunflower seeds can be of two types: black oil and striped. The black oil sunflower seeds have very thin shells, which makes them easy to handle for virtually any kind of seed-eating birds. The kernels within contain a good amount of fat, which makes them highly valuable for most winter birds.
On the other hand, striped sunflower seeds have thicker shells and are thus more difficult for house sparrows and alike to crack open. Choosing striped sunflower seeds would be great if you want to screen out the smaller birds that are literally swarming in your area.
For those living in apartments or who don’t want to spend much time on cleaning the area under their bird feeders, shell-less sunflower seed is available. However, it is relatively expensive. Besides, without the shell’s protection, the sunflower seeds’ hearts and chips spoil quickly, which could lead to them harboring harmful bacteria. Thereby, you shouldn’t use shell-less sunflower seed in bird feeders that tend to collect moisture. Overall, you will need to make sure that all the seed is eaten in 1-2 days.
A common issue with sunflower seed is that it strongly attracts squirrels, which will be a problem if you don’t wish to feed them. This issue could be more or less resolved through the use of squirrel proof bird feeders.
Safflower seeds have thick shells, making them hard for some birds to crack open. In general, safflower seed is a favorite among cardinals, but some grosbeaks, doves, chickadees, and native sparrows eat it as well. House sparrows, European starlings, and squirrels generally don’t really like safflower seeds. However, it seems that they have developed a taste for it in some areas.
Nyjer or thistle
The tiny needle-like nyjer or thistle seeds are quite loved by small finches, such as Lesser Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, Indigo Buntings, and many others. Because the invasive thistle had become a recognized problem in North America, manufacturers shifted to a plant commonly known as nyjer (Guizotia abyssinica), which produces a similar type of oily and rich seed.
White Proso millet
Millet is a favorite food among ground-feeding birds, such as quails, doves, juncos, native American sparrows, as well as cardinals. However, because millet is also loved by cowbirds, house sparrows, and other blackbirds, the populations of which are supported at unnaturally high levels, it is the wisest to not use millet in their presence. In this case, a good alternative would be black oil sunflower seed because virtually all the birds that favor millet also like sunflower seeds.
Because millet is popular among ground-feeding birds, it is often better to scatter it on the ground, but in such amounts that the birds can eat it in a day. As an alternative, millet can be used with low-set platform bird feeders.
Shelled and Cracked Corn
Such birds as turkeys, quails, cardinals, crows, ravens, ducks, and other species eat corn. You could already see that corn has a “problem” with large birds that aren’t always desired, but there is more.
Corn is a favorite of house sparrows, starlings, geese, bears, raccoons, and deer, and this is a problem because none of these should be subsidized by us. Apart from that, corn is very likely to be contaminated with aflatoxins, which are highly toxic even at low concentrations. With corn, you would also need to make sure that it never gets wet, so you shouldn’t put more corn in the feeder than the birds can consume in a day. This means that you should avoid putting corn in bird feeders that can collect moist.
Though you probably won’t see corn covered in a red dye on sale, avoid them at all cost. The red dye indicates that the corn is treated with fungicides before planting. Such corn is extremely toxic for humans, let alone birds.
Peanuts are very popular among crows, titmice, chickadees, woodpeckers, jays, and many other birds. However, they are also a favorite of squirrels, raccoons, bears, and other animals. Similar to corn, peanuts must be kept dry and used up quickly as they can harbor aflatoxins, so you would need to keep an eye on your bird feeder to clean up the remains of peanuts.
Milo is in favor of many Western ground-feeding birds. Seed preference tests have demonstrated that Steller’s jays, Gambel’s quails, and Curve-billed thrashers prefer milo to sunflower seeds. Some other studies showed that house sparrows do not tend to eat milo, while cowbirds do.
In general, milo isn’t that preferred by wild birds. Do not choose milo unless you know that your birds will be perfectly fine with it.
Golden & Red millet, flax
These are often used as fillers in packaged birdseed blends. Most birds shun these seeds, preferring the rest. This means that the more filler seed a package has, the more money you throw out of the window when buying such bird food. Apart from that, being left in the bird feeder, filler seed becomes a ground for bacteria and fungus. So before getting a bird food pack, go through its ingredients to make sure that there is no waste seed in it.
Rapeseed and Canary Seed
These two kinds of seed do not offer much over the other types of bird food. Rapeseed is in favor of only a few birds, including doves, quails, finches, and juncos. If there are no such birds in your area, rapeseed will be a waste of money.
As with canary seed, it is very popular among house sparrows and cowbirds, which most of the people prefer not to attract. Species that eat canary seed equally favor sunflower seed, which in fact is an all-around better choice.
Suet cakes are made with sunflower seeds and wheat/oat flakes mixed with either suet, coconut oil, or pork fat. Some blends can also contain fruits, nuts, mealworms, and other ingredients.
Such birds as woodpeckers, juncos, cardinals, jays, starlings, and wrens favor suet-based bird feeders. Suet can come in the form of balls, rings, wheels, or rectangles. Some suet cakes are sold in a fine plastic net to allow for hanging on branches or bushes, as well as for suspension. Apart from that, suet cakes can be put on platform feeders or be used with suet bird feeders.
Extra Things to Look For
Birds need nutrients to grow and stay healthy, obviously. And that’s why paying special attention to the nutritional value of the bird food is of most importance.
Typically, bird foods designed for specific bird types have all the essential nutrients those birds may need. However, that isn’t always the case, which could force you to buy supplements or multiple bird food packs at once.
To save money, you should go for bird food that offers the most nutritional value for the birds. This might be not as important with wild backyard birds because they probably will be able to find more food on their own. However, if you have a pet parrot, you will have to take care of its nutritional demands. The help of a vet will be a must in this case, so consult a professional to see which nutrients your bird needs, and buy bird food accordingly.
The package size is quite important as well, even though it may seem like a matter of mere convenience. While bigger package means more lifetime, you shouldn’t buy a large package if you don’t need it. After all, bird food can just expire someday if you don’t use it up.
This means that you should buy such amounts of birdseed that will be used all up before the expiration date. In general, if you have heavy bird traffic in your backyard, you should go for 5-10-pound packages and more. In case your bird traffic is scarce or if you only feed your pet bird, a couple-pound bird food package will be just enough.
You most probably won’t be giving all the food from the pack to the birds, meaning that the remaining food needs to be preserved in good conditions. Manufacturers almost always sell their bird food in re-sealable packages that can prevent the contamination of the food and its rotting. It would thereby be a good idea to consider getting bird food in a re-sealable package.
Some bird foods are in fact blends of nuts, seeds, grains, and whatnot. While you might have initially thought that a blend is a blend and there is nothing else to worry about, that’s not the case. You should offer the birds in the backyard such seeds that are preferred by them. Otherwise, you will be just wasting money and won’t be attracting any birds.
Many cheap bird food blends are filled with waste seeds and grains that are avoided by most of the birds. While those seeds may appear all colorful, they do not attract as many birds as one may expect. As we already mentioned, waste seeds include red millet, golden millet, rape, canary seed, and wheat.
Proportion of seed types in mixes
Apart from avoiding waste seed, you might want to “tweak” the proportion of each kind of seed, nut, grain, and fruit that are contained in the bird food blend. Unfortunately, this is a matter of experience as well because you probably won’t be able to pick the ideal blend on your first try. At first, you might see some amount of seed spilled on the ground under your bird feeder. This means that the birds are looking for their preferred kind of seed, which more often than not results in them just tossing the unnecessary seeds on the ground. If you leave this be, you will be spending more money than you need to.
Be mindful of the current season when buying bird food. You have probably noticed over the years that throughout the year, your backyard houses different kinds of avian populations. While most of the birds might be the same, you could occasionally get migrating birds as well. Why not take care of them?
And we repeat our point: make sure you get birdseed that is preferred by the birds that visit your backyard!
Saving Money on Bird Food
The birdseed market, including the prices, has been heavily affected by a number of factors over the recent 30 years. Those factors include:
- High human consumption. The emphasis on healthy diets has made many people eat sunflower seeds. People are ready and in fact tend to buy much more sunflower products, which leaves less sunflower seed for the birdseed market.
- The number of households feeding birds has increased dramatically over the observed time period.
- The tendency of the energy’s price to rise also caused the price of birdseed to go up. That’s because fuel is used to plant, harvest, and transport birdseed products.
Apart from these factors, seasonal differences can also drive the price of birdseed up considerably. Droughts and frosts negatively impact the key sunflower and corn crops, which in its turn increases their price.
Those aren’t the only things that have impacted the price of birdseed products over the last decades. The point is that bird food is quite expensive, so you might want to save up on it as much as possible. Let’s see what steps you can take to do so.
- Do not purchase bird food in large bulks. Bird food is perishable, and it can become stale or get infested by insects or mice over time. It’s generally a good idea to buy only at most the amount of bird food that you can use up in 1-2 months, unless you have a very cool, dry, and pest proof area to store the bird food in.
This is especially the case if you are going to buy bird food for the first time. Instead of going for large packs, buy several smaller packs to try each of them out in order to see whether or not the birds like them. When you find the right bird food, you can start buying it in large packages.
- Take advantage of bird food sales, which many stores now offer several times a year. In case the seller offers to “store” the bird food for you until you need it, why not take advantage of it as well?
- You will typically save money when buying large packages of bird food. However, as we already mentioned, this might not be the best choice for you. If you aren’t going to feed all that bird food to the birds before the expiration date, don’t buy large bird food packs.
- If you want to bother with it, it is generally cheaper to buy separate seed types and then mixing them yourself. Apart from helping you save money, this can be a good way to create the perfect bird food mix for the birds that visit your backyard.
- We already said this, but make sure that there are no waste seeds in the bird food. Also, make sure that you get what the birds in your backyard will be eating. Otherwise, you will be just spending money for nothing.
- If possible, avoid buying kinds of seeds that attract pests like squirrels or undesired larger birds. They will eat the bird food, and you will have to refill the bird feeder prematurely. Furthermore, you will have to buy additional bird food, and this could amount to huge expenses in the long run.
In case you don’t have any alternatives, you should invest in a pest proof bird feeder. Those will be able to more or less reliably protect the seed from unwanted birds and animals, which should allow you to save greatly.
Benefits of Using a Bird Feeder
Insect control. Birds eat not only the mere bird food people provide them with. Feeding the birds in your backyard also invites them to feast on insects, worms, and spiders. Birds can allow you to avoid using costly and toxic insecticides and instead maintain your garden’s balance in a natural way.
Flower pollination. Birds can also greatly assist you in flower pollination, resulting in a gorgeous, bird-friendly landscape that won’t need as much gardening effort from you.
Weed control. Small birds like sparrows and finches eat huge amounts of seeds, particularly from seed-bearing flowers or weeds, which are often undesirable with backyard landscapes. Attracting birds with bird food will also allow them to consume the natural food sources in your garden, including weeds.
Interaction with nature. For many people living in urban areas, birds at their bird feeders may be the only wild animals they have the chance to observe and interact with. Feeding birds can be an especially great pastime for seniors or those with limited mobility. Children would also definitely love to get their first exposure to nature!
Learning more about the birds. Experimenting with different bird food and feeder types can allow you to learn more about the birds in your backyard, their preferences, behaviors, and other aspects of the local avifauna, which will surely be of great interest to you even if you aren’t a scientist!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can bird food reliably attract a lot of birds to my backyard?
The bird food itself plays a big role in attracting birds, but there is more to it. The quality and type of the bird food obviously play a primary role because birds will get attracted only to the food they prefer. Apart from that, such factors as the presence of cats and dogs in the area or neighbors having higher-quality bird food could be crucial in attracting birds.
Do squirrels love bird food?
Yes, they do. This might be both problematic and fine for you. If you are okay with the food running out faster, then the squirrels won’t be a problem for you. Otherwise, you should think about squirrel proof bird feeders.
Can bird food be put into any kind of bird feeder?
In general, the answer is yes. However, for suet cakes, you should use suet bird feeders or alternatively platform bird feeders. Besides, take the size of the grains, nuts, and seeds into consideration as larger seeds can get stuck in smaller bird feeders.
Is bird food safe?
All-natural bird food with no artificial additives is perfectly safe for birds. Moreover, bird food is often the most efficient way of ensuring that your pet bird gets all the nutrients it needs. Just keep in mind that appropriate storage and timely consumption of the food by birds is advised to keep the bird food healthy.
Bird food can be quite expensive, but it is well worth the price. For the money, you can almost instantly get all the nutrients necessary for your pet bird. Apart from that, you won’t have to figure out which food type works with different kinds of birds because bird food pack manufacturers have already done it!