Wild Bird Blog


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Why Quality Bird Seed Matters

Oct 14, 2020


How is WBC seed different from most commercial blends? What makes a “quality” seed or mix?

We look for three things in the seed we sell:

1.   Are the seeds proven to attract the birds as advertised?

Many low-cost commercial mixes are formulated to a price point rather than to the attractiveness to birds. While the mix may be inexpensive, the results are often lackluster as the bulk of the mix are less attractive seeds such as wheat, milo, sorghum or other grains. Will some birds eat them? Sure, but it will be hard to attract the colorful birds and you may end up with a mess on the ground as birds search for the “good stuff.”

2.   Is the seed fresh?










Packaging is important. WBC uses triple-barrier bags to seal in freshness. It prevents any leakage and insects from spoiling the product and ensures the seed you put out is in a premier state. Just like us, birds prefer their food fresh, and as a result, you’ll have more colorful visitors than ever before!

3.   Is the seed clean?

There are varying grades of cleanliness when it comes to bird seed. The less sticks, dirt,chaff and debris, the “cleaner” the mix. WBC sells 99% clean seed, which is just below human-grade. This is accomplished through running the seed through gravity tables, sizing screens and aspirators – all of which give us the cleanest seed possible for our feathered friends.

What are the quality seeds most attractive to birds?

When WBC first started 35 years ago, our founder George Petrides, Sr., consulted with Dr. Aelred Geis, a U.S. Department of the Interior researcher, who revolutionized bird feeding with his research on which seeds birds actually preferred. This research was updated and further refined by an early 2000s study – Project Feeder Watch – conducted by Dr. David Horn of Milliken University and the Wild Bird Feeding Institute. Both studies concluded that these were the most attractive seeds to backyard birds:Black_Oil_Sunflower

·      Black Oil Sunflower: An oily, black-shelled seed, sunflower is a major ingredient in many mixes. Attractive to most birds, especially cardinals.

·      Hulled/Chipped Sunflower: Black Oil sunflower without the shell, this attracts smaller birds such as goldfinches, chickadees and titmice.

·      Safflower: Attactive to cardinals, but less so to sparrows, grackles, starlings and squirrels.

·      Nyjer: Imported from India and Ethiopia, this small black seed is a favorite of goldfinches and chickadees.

·      Peanuts: A great offering for woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees and nuthatches.

·      Millet & Corn: Good for ground feeders such as doves, juncos and the occasional duck. 

·      Striped Sunflower: Perfect for bluejays and red-bellied woodpeckers.







When feeding your birds, it’s important to do your research. Check the list of ingredients on the bag of seed to make sure they have the “quality” seeds, look over the bag to make sure it looks clean and fresh in the bag. This may mean spending a little more, but you’ll get better birds, less waste, and a better experience in your backyard with better seed.

Visit your local Wild Bird Center or visit us online at wildbird.com to help you learn what seed and feeder works best for the types of birds you want to see in your yard. Soon, you will discover the joys of feeding birds the food they want to eat!


Photos by Carla Mason