For many birders, stretching the bird seed budget can be a daunting task.  It is possible to have your backyard birds and save a little money along the way.  It is also possible, unfortunately, to lose the birds if you do not choose your bird seed wisely.

If you use price as a single factor in bird seed selection, be certain of that selection.  The cheapest ingredients in any wid bird seed mix are weed seeds that favor ground feeding birds.  Doves, sparrows, starlings, grackles, ducks, pheasants, etc. are members of an exclusive club that enjoy feeding on the ground.  These species of birds have learned to sustain their bodies by consuming the lower fat content seeds nature provides.

Songbirds such as cardinals, goldfinches, chickadees, titmice, etc prefer the high fat content seeds, such as sunflower seeds.  The commodities markets determine the prices you see on your retailer’s shelves.  The sunflower seed is used in a variety of human products such as cooking oil, snacks, etc.  It use is worldwide and the planted acerage is pretty much steady year to year.

One bad crop or weather issues, higher energy prices (production and distribution related), one country’s exporting overusage or any one single event will stretch existing supplies to the limit, causing price increases.   Wild birds do not understand economy issues.  The birds instinctively know what kind of seeds are necessary for survival.

If you want to attract colorful songbirds to your hanging or post mounted bird feeders, then sunflower seed has to be a main component in your bird seed selection.  Without it, you stand to lose the very same birds you have spent previous years attempting to attract.

The best method to attract the birds of your choice and still stretch your budget is to use the good seed mixes sparingly.  Do not over fill your feeders.  Only put out a daily half fill.  Try adding some other ingredients to your sunflower seed but make sure these other choices are also high in fat content. 

If you are not sure, read this article written by an Audubon Director of Development for an unbiased report on seed selection and wild birds.