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
Male and female House Finches
Male Northern Cardinal
Dark-eyed Junco and Northern Cardinal
Sunflower seed bandit ~ Red Squirrel
Posted by Julie Gidwitz