6 Benefits of Using Sunflower Seeds (The BEST Birdseed!)
There are tons of benefits of using sunflower seeds in your bird feeders!
From the health of your backyard birds to the number of species you can attract, you can’t go wrong with this bird feeder staple. I highly recommend using it in your regular bird feeding routine!
Here are the 6 benefits of using sunflower seeds in your feeders:
#1. You’ll attract the widest variety of birds.
One of the best benefits of using sunflower seeds is that a HUGE variety of birds love them.
Here is a list of birds you will be able to attract by offering sunflower seeds:
- Northern Cardinals, jays, woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, grackles, nutcrackers, grosbeaks, Carolina Wrens, goldfinches, finches, juncos, sparrows, towhees, blackbirds, and doves all eat sunflower.
- In addition, even birds such as orioles and bluebirds will sometimes sample hulled sunflower seeds.
Honestly, it would be easier to make a list of birds that DON’T eat sunflower seeds!
Here’s a look at some of the most popular birds eating sunflower seeds at the Bird Watching HQ Feeders.
To attract the birds you’re interested in, you’ll want to make sure you use the type of sunflower seeds best suited to them. Believe it or not, there are three different types of sunflower seeds that are used for feeding birds. To learn more about the three varieties, check out the following post:
#2. You will save money on birdseed.
For the nutritional content and the number of birds that eat it, sunflower is a better value than any other bird food.
I firmly believe the statement above, but with one caveat – you have to look at the whole picture, not just the price per bag. Sunflower seeds aren’t inexpensive to purchase, but in the long run, you’ll be saving money.
The problem with “cheap” birdseed mixes is that birds typically don’t eat 90% of the seeds on the bag. Companies fill the bag with “filler” foods just to get the cost of the bag lower.
So while buying a bag of sunflower seeds might cost more than a “cheap” seed mix, the birds will eat the entire thing!
And with hulled sunflower seeds, you don’t even have to worry about paying for shells that birds won’t eat!
#3. You can tailor using sunflower seeds to your preferences.
I advise you to change your bird food depending on the season or situation.
This is an excellent benefit of using sunflower seeds! Since there are THREE different kinds, you can keep feeding sunflower seeds but customize your feeders for the visiting birds.
During winter and spring, I have problems with starlings and grackles, who can completely empty my feeders of hulled sunflower in a morning!
So, when these “bully” birds start showing up, I switch to striped sunflower in my tray feeder because the starlings can’t open the shells. I also use caged tube feeders with hulled sunflower inside so that my Black-capped Chickadees, American Goldfinches, and House Finches still have their favorite food.
#4. Your birds will be eating nutritious food.
Let’s take a look at the numbers to see the nutritional benefits of sunflower seeds compared to a popular seed mix:
Ingredients in Kaytee Basic Blend Wild Bird Food: Cracked Corn, Millet, Milo, and just a little bit of Black-Oil Sunflower Seed
Corn, Millet, and Milo are grain products that some birds eat, but not all of the birds at your feeders prefer these. They’re higher in carbohydrates and have less protein and fat than sunflower seeds.
When you buy sunflower seeds, you avoid feeding a bunch of fillers or wasting money on stuff that birds won’t eat. In addition to their basic nutrient content, sunflower seeds also provide vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, vitamin E, vitamin B, and potassium.
Protein and fat are especially important to birds during the colder months because the insects they normally eat aren’t available. The high concentration of these nutrients in sunflower seeds provides a great replacement. In the winter, when insects are scarce, your backyard birds will be thankful that you’re giving them such a healthy meal to get through the cold season!
#5. Using sunflower seeds is convenient.
One drawback of certain types of bird food is that they’re specialty products that can be hard to find. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth with sunflower seeds!
You don’t have to plan a special trip or spend a ton of money on shipping to get sunflower seeds. They’re available at hardware stores, bird-feeding specialty stores, pet supply shops, feed stores, and even grocery stores!
And, of course, you can buy bags of sunflower seeds online! The only problem is the cost is higher since seeds are heavy and costly to ship. However, if you’re interested in the convenience, you can find sunflower seeds on Amazon and other wildlife and pet supply websites!
#6. You’ll save time on cleanup (IF you use hulled sunflower seeds)
While it’s true that not all sunflower seeds are mess-free, hulled sunflower is your best choice for no-mess bird food.
For one, there are no shells to clean up, and there are so many birds that love sunflower seeds they’ll get gobbled up quickly! So this will save you the time and hassle of cleaning out old food and shells.
As a bonus, your bird feeding station won’t smell, which can be a massive problem if seeds and shells get wet and start to mold. No-mess bird seed comes with its own list of benefits. Check it out here!
Why do you like using sunflower seeds?
Tell us in the comments!