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Bird Seed Preferences by Species

White-breasted Nuthatch

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
Bird feeders


What bird seeds do most birds like?

There are many different types of bird seeds, and different birds have different preferences.  Most birds tend to prefer sunflower seeds, but there are lots of other options and preferences.

  • 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, sugar 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

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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