Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Super Sunflower Seeds

Without a doubt, the most popular seed at our bird feeders is black oil sunflower seeds. While I am in the process of refilling the feeders, scratchy-voiced Tufted Titmice, energetic Red-breasted Nuthatches and brilliant red Northern Cardinals seem to magically appear, eager for a snack of this tasty seed.

Black oil sunflower seeds are especially appealing because they are rich in oil and fat content. The meaty morsels offer much needed calories and nutrition for birds during the cold winter months. As well as supplying energy, black oil sunflower seeds have a high ratio of nutmeat to shell and are packed with essential protein. These sought after tidbits have very thin shells that can be easily broken by most seed eating birds.

Visiting birds handle the seeds differently. Doe-eyed Tufted Titmice and loquacious Black-capped Chickadees will garner a seed, fly to a perch, place it between their feet and hammer away with their bills until the meat is exposed. An interesting behavior we often witness is caching of the seeds. White and Red-breasted Nuthatches frequently carry a seed off to a nearby tree and stash it in bark crevices for later consumption. Beautiful American Goldfinches prefer to plant themselves on the feeder and munch away. Dark-eyed Juncos and Mourning Doves forage quietly on the ground seeking dropped morsels and crumbs.

During the winter season, we offer black-oil sunflower seeds at the feeders on our country property (in northwest Indiana) and at our home in the big city of Chicago. A steady stream of birds delight in the seeds. We see the above mentioned birds daily, as well as Blue Jays, House Finches, Pine Siskins, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Wild Turkeys.

To enhance your backyard bird watching experience during the winter months, be sure to place out a bird feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds. This practice is twofold, for the benefit of the area birds and for your own viewing pleasure.

Female Northern Cardinal

Blue Jay

Tufted Titmouse

White-breasted Nuthatch

Male and female House Finches

Red-bellied Woodpecker

American Goldfinch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Male Northern Cardinal

Dark-eyed Junco

Black-capped Chickadee

Red-headed Woodpecker

Pine Siskin

Dark-eyed Junco and Northern Cardinal

Sunflower seed bandit ~ Red Squirrel  

Posted by Julie Gidwitz


  1. Excelente capturas de estas preciosas aves.Saludos

  2. Super shots Julie!
    It's right nice of y'all to keep the kitchen open for them birdies.

  3. Wow what a excellent post, love it. Excellent pictures also. Nicely done!

  4. Beautiful photos Julie! You have a great variety of visitors! They sure are enjoying the seeds! Happy New Year to you, Julie!

  5. Great post Julie! What great backyard bird photography! No question that black-oil sunflower seeds are the way to go. When I can afford it, I like to get the already shelled sunflower chips and shelled millet too.

  6. What a fun post, Julie! And gorgeous photos, too! This is why I love that the acronym for Black Oil Sunflower Seeds is (BOSS). Because it's clearly the BOSS of bird seed! :-)

  7. ...hehehe! They are all so cute! Love the shot of the red-breasted nuthatch.

  8. Wonderful post, Julie! I love that Chickadee!

  9. Wonderful post, Julie! The BOSS is a favorite at my feeders too. I loved all the birds and your photos. Happy Birding!

  10. BOSS is best. I just got a great tip to use BOSS chips in a thistle feeder instead of thistle. The finches loved it! In fact, the owner of a wild bird food supply store told me he never uses thistle anymore. -Josh