Probably the most commonly used bird seed, birds eat sunflower seed due to its high fat content. There are primarily three sunflower seed options; black-oil sunflower, striped sunflower, and hulled sunflower. Black-oil sunflower seed is eaten by more birds than striped sunflower seed due to its smaller size and easier to crack shell. Though striped sunflower seed will still be eaten (and may be preferred) by larger bird species like Blue Jays and Woodpeckers. Hulled (shell removed) sunflower seeds attract the greatest number of bird species because they are easiest to eat, especially for birds who don’t have the beak strength to crack shelled sunflower seed. While hulled sunflower seed is the most expensive, it does not make the mess the shelled varieties often make.
Birds that Eat Black-Oil or Striped Sunflower Seed
Black-Capped Chickadee Blue Jay Brown Thrasher Downy Woodpecker Eastern Towhee House Finch Northern Cardinal Purple Finch Red-Bellied Woodpecker Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Tufted Titmouse White-Breasted Nuthatch
Birds that Eat Hulled Sunflower
American Goldfinch American Robin Black-Capped Chickadee Blue Jay Brown Thrasher Carolina Wren Downy Woodpecker Eastern Towhee Mourning Dove Northern Cardinal Pine Siskin Purple Finch Red-Bellied Woodpecker Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Tufted Titmouse White-Breasted Nuthatch White-Throated Sparrow Wild Turkey