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Bird Seed Preferences by Species

Birds have a pretty strong preference for the foods they eat. Knowing which species prefers which type of food, and where to serve the food, will have a big impact on your success in attracting birds to your feeders.

Here are some tips on feeder location and feeder types.

  • Tube and hopper feeders are generally pole mounted or hung from a tree limb.
  • Platform feeders are generally mounted on a pole.
  • Suet can be served in a hanging suet feeder or just spread on the side of a tree
  • When ground feeding, do not spread more than a days supply.
  • Fruit can be placed in a shallow dish, or on a platform feeder


white-breasted nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch at peanut feeder.


Buntings: will use hanging feeders or feed on the ground.

Cardinal: tube or hopper feeder

Catbird: fruit on platform feeder - lower is better

Chickadee: tube or hopper feeder

Doves: feed on the ground

Goldfinch: tube, suet or Nyjer in seed sock

Grosbeaks: tube, platform or platform feeder

Jays: tube feeder, peanut feeder, platform feeder

Juncos: suet or feed seed on ground

Mockingbird: suet or platform feeder

Nuthatches: tube, platform, suet

Orioles: fruit, suager water

Pine Siskins: tube, seed sock, suet

Purple Finch/House Finch: tube or hopper feeder

Quail: feed on the ground

Red-winged Blackbirds: tube, hopper or platform feeders

Sparrows: feed on the ground or low platform

Thrushes: feed on the ground or low platform

Towhees: tube or on ground

Woodpeckers: tube, peanut feeders, suet

Wrens: suet