Last Updated: October 27, 2022
Offering birds food and water and having bird feeders around during cold winter days is a great service to humanity. That's because you help reduce their stress levels, multiply their species, and seal their earthen faith of continuing service to nature.
Humanitarian or not...
You don't have to stress over feeding wild birds. With the best bird seed types, you would cut litter and waste to the barest minimum.
Let's have a look at some of the best bird seed types and mixes you can serve in your backyard. Here's our review of the best, economical, no-mess bird seeds online. We particularly love Wagner's Gourmet Nut and Fruit for its superb seed quality and value.
|1. Wagner's Gourmet Nut N' and Fruit||
Iconic Seed Blend
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|2. Kaytee Cracked Corn||
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|3. Kaytee Mealworm Wild Bird Food||
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|4. Brown's Song Blend Shelled Peanut||
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|5. Wild Delight Deck Porch N' Patio||
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|6. Wildlife Sciences High Energy Suet||
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|7. Brown's Bird Lover's Blend||
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|8. Wagner's Premium Cardinal Blend||
#1 For Cardinals
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|9. Lyric Fine Tunes No Waste Bird Seeds||
Shelled Seeds & Nuts
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|10. Wagner's Nyjer Bird Seed||
Great Value Buy
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- 10 Best Bird Seeds to Serve Your Backyard Birdies
- 1. Wagner's Gourmet Nut N' and Fruit – Best Overall
- 2. Kaytee Cracked Corn – Best Corn Food
- 3. Kaytee Mealworm Wild Bird Food – Best Dried Mealworms
- 4. Brown's Song Blend Shelled Peanut – Best Shelled Peanuts
- 5. Wild Delight Deck Porch N' Patio - Best Wild Bird Food
- 6. Wildlife Sciences High Energy Suet – Best Suet Pack
- 7. Brown's Bird Lover's Blend – Best Squirrel-Proof Seed Mix
- 8. Wagner's Premium Cardinal Blend – Best Bird Seed for Cardinals
- 9. Lyric Fine Tunes No Waste Bird Seeds – No Waste Bird Seed Mix
- 10. Wagner's Nyjer Bird Seed - Best Nyger Seed
- What's This Thing Called Bird Seed?
- Best Bird Seed Types
- 3 Things You Should Avoid As A First-Time Birdseed Shopper
- Final Thoughts
10 Best Bird Seeds to Serve Your Backyard Birdies
1. Wagner's Gourmet Nut N' and Fruit – Best Overall
Wagner's Gourmet bird seed blend is a prestigious wild bird food thanks to its superb content of quality bird seeds many birds love.
The careful selection of fruits and nuts alone attracts many sought-after backyard birds. Orioles, Baltimores, Woodpeckers, and Blue Jays are among just a few that would come to forage.
The larger birds would feast on high-rationed peanuts, and the dried fruits appease the taste of small species. It would make a sceneful backyard treat as soon as the birds recognize its signature bag.
For a bird seed mix with over eleven ingredients, it impressively has no fillers. The birds gobble it up, emptying the bird feeder in a rush.
The only thing is that the chunks are too big and occasionally block a tube feeder's serving ports, but is still good for other types of bird feeders.
Serving it in a tray feeder, however, would most likely invite a crowd of crows, grackles, and interested mammals to the feeder. Worse, serving the gourmet as a staple diet to such a crowd could be phenomenally expensive.
The seeds are contained moisture-free in a Velcro bag for long storage and easy access. Also, the fruits are dried and can last for months before developing any signs of discomposure. And not necessarily.
- Suitable to attract a boatload variety of birds
- Iconic seed blend for birdwatchers
- Attracts both seed-eating and fruit-loving birds
- Has white and red millet seeds
- Not desirable for long-term storage
- Some chunks of seeds
Considering its cost, Wagner's Gourmet Nut and Fruit mix is an excellent option if you intend to attract individual birds like Jays, Nuthatches, Chickadees, and Woodpeckers onto your bird feeders.
2. Kaytee Cracked Corn – Best Corn Food
This is the best-cracked corn I've seen online. It's clean and contains only bright-colored maize seeds that look edible for human consumption.
But with songbirds in mind, you may be disappointed due to the large size of corn seeds. Plus, they would unlikely survive a food struggle with bully birds who find it easy to eat.
Also, the Kaytee Cracked Corn bag is made with the backyard birdwatcher in mind. You can seal it off after serving to block moisture or getting infested with weevils.
Again, it's a bit expensive, but it's what you pay for a reliable bird seed brand's trust and service. You can't guarantee this certainty when you buy a generic bag from a local store.
- Clean and pest-free
- No waste or filler content
- Attracts all sorts of birds that can fit it through their beak
- Relatively expensive
- Chopped into large pieces
If high-quality cracked corn is what you want to serve in your yard, you can trust a bag of this clean and tantalizing Kaytee option.
3. Kaytee Mealworm Wild Bird Food – Best Dried Mealworms
Kaytee MealwormsWild Bird Food is an excellent high-protein food source that attracts many "special" birds.
If songbirds like wrens, robins, and bluebirds never stay at your feeder, mealworms would woo them. You can also serve this food pouch when you have nestlings.
Also, you eliminate the "ickiness" you might feel handling live mealworms. It's as easy as sprinkling grains in your feeder.
Unlike many mealworm brands, the bottom content stays fresh till you empty the whole bag. Consequently, you would rarely be bothered by mold or moth infestation.
You can serve them directly or blend them with live worms if the birds don't gobble them up at first. Similarly, you can mix the dried mealworms with seeds or little nuts to make it economical.
- Oven-dried for longer shelf life
- No live worms in your hands
- The best food to attract bluebirds
- Can be expensive as a staple diet
- Sometimes requires some garnishing with seeds or live worms
The Kaytee Mealworm Food Pouch offers the best-dried mealworms I've seen across brands. Not only is it well-preserved, but it's a favorite treat for most birds. If you happen to have hens, they will go crazy for this treat.
4. Brown's Song Blend Shelled Peanut – Best Shelled Peanuts
If you want a bag of shelled peanuts only for the belly of a few feathered friends, you can trust Brown's. But it's not that easy. Shelled peanuts are a favorite for many birds and squirrels too.
You can serve the peanuts effectively in a wreath or tube feeder.
Tray feeders, on the other hand, host a crowd of animals that guzzle down the nuts in a matter of minutes. Crows habitually stuff their mouths full of nuts and fly off to feast.
Lastly, the seeds come and stay fresh in a resealable bag to keep out moisture and insects. It would last a while without molding or getting infested if it's properly stored.
- Tasty serving for plenty of bird species
- Stores fresh for long
- Superb as a treat
- Costly staple diet
If you want super-quality shelled peanuts that are just the right size for feeders, stay fresh, and attract select birds that want a taste, Brown's Song Blend Shelled Peanut is your best pick.
5. Wild Delight Deck Porch N' Patio - Best Wild Bird Food
The Wild Delight Deck Porch N' Patio is the perfect bird seed blend to attract different kinds of colorful and joyful songbirds. This wild bird food mix contains a generous serving of popular sunflower kernels, peanuts, and pistachios. And it also offers hulled pumpkin seeds.
While it's stated free of chemical preservatives, it does contain non-seed ingredients for vitamin fortification. It's undoubtedly a highly-nutritional seed mix for wild birds, but I hardly fancy supplements in wild bird food.
- A tantalizing blend of over five types of bird seed
- Nourishing choice of wild bird seed mix for winters
- Leaves no mess behind
- Fluctuating high prices
If you want some wild bird seed mixes that leave no mess to clean after and attract a diverse array of birds, Wild Delight Porch N' Patio is what you desire.
6. Wildlife Sciences High Energy Suet – Best Suet Pack
The High Energy Suet from Wildlife Sciences is hands down the most popular and widely trusted product. Suet cakes are bird food to attract all sorts of woodpeckers.
While I don't know what's in the by-products, birds surely love this suet, as they should.
It doesn't make a mess – unless the birds do it themselves – while refilling. But you should be wary of serving it on hot summer days.
Its pack opens easily, and the cakes fit into the standard suet feeders like a glove, leaving a little room for wiggle.
- Fits squarely into suet baskets
- 100% recyclable packaging
- Popular food, especially among woodpeckers
- Crumbles easily
- May wither in warm weather
Most birdwatchers will first encounter suet in a bid to attract Woodpeckers. You would do just that with the High Energy suet cakes all season.
7. Brown's Bird Lover's Blend – Best Squirrel-Proof Seed Mix
It's hard to overlook birders who struggle with critters causing a commotion at their feeding station - You're not forgotten in this review.
Bird Lover's Blend is a bird seed mix specially formulated to piss Squirrels off your bird feeders. Its gourmet selection of white millet and safflower seeds is a turn-off to squirrels.
However, wild birds would welcome the seeds as a treat, unaware of the hot sauce. But the blend could be healthier and more appealing if it had more safflower seeds in the mix.
The blend is tightly locked in a Ziploc, so you should have no problem keeping it fresh for a while.
- Tasty to a lot of bird species
- Keeps off squirrels from your bird feeders, as it says
- Expensive as a staple diet
Brown's Bird Lover's Blend is the only squirrel-proof wild bird seed mix I currently can vouch for to be effective. It fends off the squirrels, and a variety of birds would find it palatable in your bird feeder.
8. Wagner's Premium Cardinal Blend – Best Bird Seed for Cardinals
Its name says it all. Wagner's Cardinal Blend is a mixture of black oil sunflower seeds and striped safflower seeds specifically to entice the Cardinals.
Of course, with this bird seed mix containing the all-time favorite black oil sunflower seed, you'd attract many more bird species than just cardinals.
You won't bother with squirrels because a large portion of the blend contains safflower seeds. But mixed up with black oil sunflower seeds, they might come around the feeder to eat what they can.
- #1 bird food for cardinals
- Squirrels can't empty their content in a bird feeder
- Attracts more birds than cardinals
The good thing about Wagner's wild bird food is all the little birds love black oil sunflower seeds, and all the other ingredients it contains, so this not only attracts cardinals.
9. Lyric Fine Tunes No Waste Bird Seeds – No Waste Bird Seed Mix
Lyric Fine Tune is a custom-made wild bird seed mix for beautiful wild birds, down to the smallest. It's the true definition of a "no waste" mix.
All the seeds are hulled and shelled, so the birds have an easy time feeding.
Its fine selection of nuts and seeds is free of fillers. However, an abundance of nuts in the mix tips the preference scale to larger backyard birds, like Chickadees and Bluejays. Nonetheless, all sorts of birds come around to eat this blend if served right.
It would have no problem flowing through most feeders' ports and works on literally any type of feeder. The nuts which may turn out to be the issue are cut to size.
The bag has a Velcro closure, but you should take extra care to store it in a cool, dry place. While serving, anticipate the kind of traffic you get at your feeder, and maybe start small to see the ones that like the mix.
- Shelled seeds and nuts
- Premium seed selection with high nutritional value
- No mess bird seed blend
- Resealable plastic bag stores safely and conveniently
- Must be protected from rain or snow
This Lyric Fine Tunes is an excellent wild bird food to serve on special occasions or if you don't want any leftovers of ground-feeding birds.
10. Wagner's Nyjer Bird Seed - Best Nyger Seed
Wagner brand products continue to appear in this review for their unmatched customer value. The 62053 Nyjer seed has the best value among all the brands online.
But of course, you'd have to deal with the leftover thistle shells.
Nyger is a special seed used to attract finches and sparrows but also serves other beautiful species. They might as well refuse to eat nothing but nyjer seed at your bird station.
Wagner's pack is relatively expensive as birdseed but is also the best deal you'd get on Nyger seeds.
- Good value for nyger seeds
- Easy to use press-lock on the bag
- Wards off squirrels
- Short shelf and feeder life
For those that are ready to attract finches with the priced nyger, Wagner's Premium Nyger Seed offers the best value.
What's This Thing Called Bird Seed?
Birdseed or food is anything from grains, nuts, and insects to grape jelly. Some homes serve leftover grains like rice to the birds, but it gets messy and attracts critters.
The retail birdseed is what most backyard birdwatchers serve in their yard. It attracts a select variety of birds and doesn't leave a litter of seeds and hulls to mess up the feeding station.
They are mostly sold per pound in a resealable plastic bag to keep their content away from destructive insects and moisture. Some brands would sell treats or exotic seeds mixed in small 10oz packs, but they are only suitable for pet birds.
The type of bird seeds and how you serve them usually dictate the kind of birds you would attract.
Best Bird Seed Types
It's comparably easy to find, and this makes it quite affordable. Sunflower seeds are favorites of many bird species, but depending on which one you're serving.
Black Oil Sunflower Seed (B.O.S.)
Black oil sunflower seeds are the cheapest of them all. The birds must crack the black shell open to get to its meat. It leaves a mess in its wake, but not as much as the striped sunflower seed.
This seed is one of those animal foods that look so yummy you wished you could have a bite. Ironically, it's also an edible human food.
With its hard shell, striped sunflower is not as popular as B.O.S. It's tough to crack, especially for birds that already struggle with eating the latter. Often, it's served to discriminate against bully species like the House Sparrow.
Also known as sunflower chips, hulled sunflower seeds, like the name implies, already have their shells removed. Interested birds only have to drop in and grab a treat. You could transform a typical feeder into a busy one in a couple of hours when you serve this seed.
Hulled sunflower is the most expensive type of sunflower because it makes no mess. The shells are gone, and birds love it.
Safflower is popularly called the miracle seed. It truly does wonders with the backyard birds.
First, most "bully birds" and invasive birds turn a blind eye to it. Meanwhile, the colorful and vibrant songbirds can't get enough of it.
You can serve safflower to curb a squirrel invasion issue at your bird feeders to top off an excellent serving experience.
If you love song sparrows and house finches, Niger/thistle is the seed to serve.
So it's no surprise that nyger is one of the most expensive types of bird seed. Yet they make a mess of the feeding area. Their black shells litter and become a signature at the feeding station.
That's right; you should also know they spoil easily for all their splendor to the birds.
But I dedicate them to the finches. Goldfinches, purple finches, towhees, and buntings often bombard a Thistle sock and eat nothing else. They display acrobatics clinging and hopping all over the feeder to gobble up its content.
Have you got a house finch?
Mealworms provide precious nutritional value to all backyard birds. But it's initially served to attract bluebirds.
You can buy either live or dried mealworms, but birds, unsurprisingly, love the real thing. However, dried mealworms are cheaper, and serving or storing them won't creep you out.
It's a popular way to attract birds that feed mainly on insects. Try feeding birds with mealworms with your hands. It's an exciting experience!
Corn is inexpensive birdseed. You'd save a whole lot feeding wild birds if you serve primarily corn, especially whole kernel corn.
The only thing is, that only large birds, like crows, doves, and backyard mammals enjoy it. I also fear whole kernel corns can choke smaller birds or fill up their little bellies too fast, and the feeder is never as vibrant.
However, chopped corn is more so they can fit it in their mouth. But it's a big attraction to the invasive house sparrows who troop in their numbers. Nonetheless, you can serve corn as a decoy away from your main feeders.
Peanut is a healthy food that attracts all sorts of birds. A lot of bullying ensues when you serve peanuts, but the ruckus varies with which type – shelled or unshelled.
Crows do not scare off other birds but stuff their mouths full of nuts and fly elsewhere to feast. Serving peanuts in a wreath feeder favors the smaller birds you want to attract.
Suet – hard fat from meat and loin – is the prime winter food for wild birds. Its high-fat content is what they need for warmth, and it's perfect for the cold.
It freezes suet, so it's always fresh and less slimy. Unlike seeds, you won't fear if the food you put out clumps up. You can serve suet during summer, but it's unlikely a good choice for folks staying in the hotter regions.
If you fancy making your portions, the local butcher can spare you some suet; it's throw meat. Even if you had to pay, you'd still save more than if you bought commercial packs.
Most suet cakes are assorted with nuts, grains, and fruits for extra nourishment. Plain suet isn't any less nutritious if you wondered – wild birds will be more than grateful.
Nectar (Sugar Water)
Nectar A.K.A. sugar water because that's what you'd be serving the birds. You can't replicate the pollen of flowers, but sugar serves the birds up with the same energy and sweetness.
You can concoct homemade nectar simply by one sugar part in four parts of water. I understand not everyone can keep up with the consistency, but if you have to buy, steer clear of dyed sugar water.
Some manufacturers haphazardly dye the water red to attract "more" hummers. It's not only unnecessary but dangerous to the birds.
Fruits are specials at the feeding station, like mealworms. You should serve fruits when you want to attract birds such as Orioles, Bluebirds, or Robins. You can serve fresh fruits, jelly, or dried fruits as bird food.
You can serve fresh fruits on a tray or Oriole feeder for ground feeding birds to see if they'd come around. If they don't, you can try other means because fruits spoil easily out in the sun.
Dried fruits are the best of them all because they can stay out for longer without spoilage. Plus, you'd have more bird species joining the feast.
Not only Orioles love fruit jellies, but also Woodpeckers and Tanagers, especially grape jelly. You can start with a spoonful serving to see if they'd come around.
While you can serve almost any flavor, wild birds have a thing for grape jelly.
Fun Fact: One interesting fact to know is that crows also crave these bird food types. It can be derived that these are what do crows eat for a healthier and more robust lifespan.
3 Things You Should Avoid As A First-Time Birdseed Shopper
Seeds don't have the longest shelf life like artificially preserved foods. And it's not uncommon for a portion of seeds put out for a few days to go bad. The culprit is often a case of exposure to the elements from storage or excessive serving.
That's a waste that could frustrate your efforts with the birds. So, it's advisable to buy the smallest bag of birdseed or schedule bi-weekly deliveries.
Notwithstanding buying bulk seeds is cheaper, stick to small bags till you're sure of your storage ability and traffic at your feeder.
Cheap Seed Mixes
When I'm shopping for earphones, I don't mind buying a cheap generic brand because I hardly ever use them. Yet, they serve me well before I eventually cut them in half untimely.
Searching for the best wild bird seed is different.
The finest bird seed mixes are devoid of fillers birds won't eat. I've denounced many birds as picky eaters when it really was just a case of bad food.
Stay away from birdseed brands offering copious amounts of these fillers – milo, canary seed, wheat, rice, oats, and grains in general.
Milo is a wonderful seed to attract deers, but not so much for birds, at least not the colorful songbirds you want.
Consequently, it'd attract a more powerful force of BULLY birds like sparrows and starlings or leave a mess of unconsumed seeds, if not. But If you have poultry birds, they'd feast away.
Any bird food you would nourish your feathered friends as long as they are seeds and nuts. But serving no mess bird seeds goes above and beyond enrichment.
You save more with reduced or no uneaten fillers in your bird food. Without litter, you won't have to stress about cleanup and weed growth.
With a quality bag of no-mess bird seed, you save more than if you opt for a cheap brand with fillers and trashy seeds.
The must-have... Our best wild bird seed mix is Wagner's Gourmet Nuts and Fruit Blend. It would send your backyard birds in a frenzy.
It would pass as a treat or in a feeder with low to medium traffic. You can browse the list for economical options for a staple or a busy feeding station.