Looking to attract and enjoy the beautiful melodies of songbirds in your backyard? Look no further than our comprehensive guide to the best birdseed for songbirds. As bird enthusiasts know, different types of seed attract different species of birds. Our team of experts has tested and compared a variety of seed options, analyzing factors such as seed quality, nutritional value, and popularity among songbirds.

From black oil sunflower seeds to nyjer seeds and safflower seeds, we have evaluated the pros and cons of each type to help you make an informed decision. Plus, we've rounded up top-performing brands and provided tips on storage to keep your birdseed fresh and tasty for your feathered friends. Get ready to sit back, relax and enjoy the sweet sounds of songbirds with our definitive guide to the best birdseed for songbirds.

Related: Best birdseed for doves


When it comes to finding the best birdseed for songbirds, sunflower seeds are a top contender. All types of sunflower seeds are perfect for backyard birds, but each variety has its own unique features that make it suitable for different types of birds.

Black oil sunflower seeds are ideal for most songbirds, with a whopping 40% fat and 16% protein content. They're easy to crack open and rich in essential fatty acids, making them a popular choice for attracting birds such as cardinals, jays, woodpeckers, nuthatches, titmice, chickadees, and grosbeaks, among others.

Striped sunflower seeds, on the other hand, are thicker-shelled and harder for House Sparrows and blackbirds to crack open. With a 26% fat and 15% protein content, they're a great option for attracting larger birds such as woodpeckers, cardinals, and jays, as well as smaller birds like chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches.

Also read: Best birdseed for wild birds

Hulled sunflower kernels and chips are also popular with smaller birds because they are easier to eat. They're more expensive compared to other varieties of sunflower seeds, but there's no shells left to clean up, making them a convenient choice for bird lovers. Hulled sunflower seeds can attract a variety of backyard birds, including cardinals, jays, grosbeaks, some wrens, goldfinches, finches, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, juncos, sparrows, towhees, blackbirds, doves, and grackles, among others.

Sunflower hearts, also known as sunflower chips, should be offered in limited quantities as they are high in fat. Nonetheless, they are an attractive food source to a wide variety of birds, such as cardinals, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches, and other smaller birds.

Sunflower seeds are also attractive to squirrels, so if you prefer to keep them away from your bird feeders, it's best to choose a squirrel-proof feeder.

In terms of specific products, one of the best sunflower seed options for winter is Wagner’s Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, offering both high protein and fat content. Deluxe Wild Bird Blend is a great all-around mix, while Classic Blend Wild Bird Feed is the perfect budget-friendly option.

Overall, sunflower seeds are the most common seeds used as bird feed, and for good reason. They're a primary food source for many backyard birds, attracting a wide range of species and providing essential nutrients for birds all year-round.


When it comes to providing your feathered friends with the best birdseed for songbirds, safflower seeds are a popular choice for those looking to attract certain species of birds while deterring others. Safflower seeds have an oval and thick, white shell that resembles a plain white sunflower seed, and can be easily offered in any feeder type that can accommodate sunflower seeds. They are preferred by a range of birds including Cardinals, nuthatches, jays, grosbeaks, and house finches, as well as being avoided by squirrels, European starlings, and house sparrows.

One unique quality of safflower seeds is their thick and robust shell, making them a challenge for some birds to crack open. This feature also means that they are rarely eaten by squirrels and blackbirds. Instead, larger birds with stronger bills, such as nuthatches, cardinals, woodpeckers, and jays, are better able to enjoy these nutrient-packed seeds. With 38% fat, 16% protein, and 34% carbohydrates, safflower seeds are sure to provide your backyard birds with the energy they need to thrive.

Overall, safflower seeds are a great option if you are looking to attract specific bird species to your yard while deterring others. They are loved by a number of different bird species, including chickadees, doves, and grosbeaks, but are typically disliked by house sparrows and European starlings. If you’re looking for the best birdseed for Cardinals, safflower seed should be your go-to thanks to its thick shell that is hard for some birds to crack open, but is a favorite among these popular songbirds.

One great option for those interested in trying safflower seed is the Kaytee Nut & Fruit blend, which contains a rich mix of seeds and grains with added nut and fruit pieces, including safflower. With its unique shell and nutrient-rich content, safflower seed is a great addition to any bird feeder, and is sure to bring plenty of feathered friends to your yard. So, why not give it a try today and see what types of birds you can attract to your backyard?

Nyjer Or Thistle

After testing various types of birdseed, we have found that Nyjer seed, also known as thistle, is one of the best options for small songbirds. This small and thin seed is high in oil, making it a great source of energy for birds during the wintertime.

The mesh-style or sock feeders are the best for this expensive seed, as they prevent waste and keep the seeds dry. Nyjer seeds are preferred by goldfinches, purple finches, pine siskins, redpolls, and quail. Even small finches such as American Goldfinches, Lesser Goldfinches, Indigo Buntings, and Common Redpolls have been observed devouring this small, black, needle-like seed.

One thing to note is that Nyjer seeds are usually imported from overseas and heat-sterilized during importation to limit their chance of spreading while retaining their food value. This makes it a bit pricier than other types of birdseed, but it is definitely worth the investment, especially if you want to attract finches and other small songbirds.

Lyric Supreme Wild Bird Mix includes small seeds like Nyjer, making it a good option if you want to provide your feathered friends with a mix of high-quality seeds.

If you decide to try Nyjer seed, don't forget to use a specialized feeder. Since the seeds are so tiny, they will fall right through most regular bird feeders. A feeder made specifically for Nyjer seed will not only prevent waste but also keep the seeds dry and fresh longer.

In conclusion, Nyjer seed is a great option for those who want to attract finches and other small songbirds to their backyard. Despite being a bit more expensive than other types of birdseed, it is well worth the investment, as it provides birds with the high-energy nutrients they need to survive the winter.

White Proso Millet

If you're on the hunt for the best birdseed for songbirds, look no further than white proso millet! These small white seeds are a common ingredient in birdseed mixes, but can also be purchased separately for individual feeding if desired. This seed is useful in hopper and tube feeders, and is preferred by a variety of ground-feeding birds, such as doves, sparrows, juncos, quail, buntings, and wild turkeys.

One of the benefits of using white proso millet is that it has a low fat content (only 4%) and a high protein content (11%). Additionally, it has a high carbohydrate content of 73%, making it a great source of energy for birds. This makes it an ideal choice for attracting juncos, sparrows, towhees, blackbirds, grackles, and doves.

If you're worried about attracting cowbirds and other blackbirds, be aware that white proso millet may also attract these birds. Additionally, house sparrows, which are already overpopulated, may be drawn to this seed. However, if you scatter the white proso millet on the ground, these birds will have to compete with other ground-feeding birds, which may help control their populations.

Lyric's Fine Tunes No Waste Mix includes hulled white proso millet, which is a great option if you want to eliminate waste and keep your feeding area clean. Overall, white proso millet is an excellent choice for attracting a variety of songbirds, particularly ground-feeding species.

Cracked Corn

When it comes to attracting songbirds to your backyard, finding the best birdseed is key. One option that's worth considering is cracked corn. While it's often used as filler in birdseed mixes, cracked corn can be a great choice for ground-feeding birds that tend to have larger appetites.

One of the main benefits of cracked corn is its high carbohydrate content. This makes it suitable for a number of bird species, including sparrows, jays, towhees, grouse, quail, doves, blackbirds, grackles, ducks, and wild turkeys. However, it's not as well-suited for smaller birds that prefer smaller seeds.

To offer cracked corn to your feathered friends, you can use a hopper or tray feeder, or simply sprinkle it directly on the ground. This can make it easy for ground-feeding birds to access the seed and enjoy a tasty snack.

While cracked corn may not be the top choice for every bird species, it can be a great way to diversify your birdseed offerings and attract a wider variety of feathered friends to your backyard. However, if you're new to bird feeding, it's important to keep in mind that different birds have different dietary preferences. Consider doing some research or consulting with a local bird expert to learn more about which seeds and feeders are best for the birds in your area.

When shopping for bird seed, there are a few features to keep in mind. Look for a mix that has a high percentage of black oil sunflower seeds, as these are a favorite of many bird species. Additionally, consider adding in other seed varieties like thistle and suet cakes to attract an even wider range of feathered friends.

Ultimately, the best bird seed for your backyard will depend on the birds you're hoping to attract. Do your research, experiment with different seed blends, and pay attention to which birds are visiting your feeder to find the perfect mix. And don't forget to have fun – bird feeding can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby for bird lovers of all ages and levels of experience.

Questions you might be asking

What are the best types of birdseed for songbirds?

The best types of birdseed for songbirds are black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer seeds, and suet.

What makes black oil sunflower seeds the best birdseed for songbirds?

Black oil sunflower seeds have a high oil and fat content, making them a great source of energy for songbirds. They are also small and easy for birds to crack open.

What birds will black oil sunflower seeds attract?

Black oil sunflower seeds will attract cardinals, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, sparrows, and woodpeckers.

What makes nyjer seeds a good choice for songbirds?

Nyjer seeds are a good choice for songbirds because they are high in protein and oil content, making them a great source of energy.

What birds will nyjer seeds attract?

Nyjer seeds will attract American goldfinches, house finches, purple finches, and pine siskins.

What makes suet a good choice for songbirds?

Suet is a good choice for songbirds because it is high in fat and protein, which are essential for birds during the colder months.

What birds will suet attract?

Suet will attract woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, and other insect-eating birds.

How do I choose the best birdseed for my yard?

The best way to choose birdseed for your yard is to research which birds are common in your area and what their preferred foods are. You can also experiment and see which types of birdseed attract the most birds to your yard.

What types of seeds are in birdseed?

Birdseed typically consists of a variety of seeds such as sunflower seeds, millet, safflower, nyjer, and corn. These seeds provide different nutrients and attract different types of birds.

Which is the best birdseed for songbirds?

The best birdseed for songbirds is a blend of black oil sunflower seeds and nyjer seeds. These types of seeds are high in fat and protein, which are essential for the health and energy of songbirds.

Is birdseed actually good for birds?

Yes, birdseed is good for birds as long as it is fresh, clean, and meets their nutritional needs. Birds rely on different types of seeds for energy, protein, and other nutrients, and providing them with a regular supply of quality birdseed can help them thrive.

Which birdseed is the least messy?

Hulled sunflower seeds and nyjer seeds are considered the least messy birdseed options. These seeds don't have a hard outer shell, which means less waste and debris around the feeder.

What is the best seed to attract songbirds?

Black oil sunflower seeds are the best seed to attract songbirds. They are high in fat and protein, and their thin shells are easy for birds to crack open. Additionally, their oil content tends to attract a wider variety of songbirds.

What is the best bird feeder for songbirds?

The best bird feeder for songbirds is one that is sturdy and easy to clean. A tube feeder with multiple ports for perching and feeding is ideal for attracting songbirds, as it allows multiple birds to feed at the same time. It's also important to make sure the feeder is hung in a safe and visible location.