So in the past weeks, I've touched on Nyjer Seed and on Safflower Seed. Today, I'll provide some information on Sunflower Seeds. These are pretty common feeder seeds that many people use. These even make appearances in the general wild bird seed mixes which I do not recommend.
Sunflower Seed comes in two varieties: Striped and Black-Oil. The Striped are larger than the Black-Oil and have a thicker shell. The Black-Oil seeds are the more common seeds which many people use.
Sunflowers are native to the Americas and are plants that many people put in their gardens. They are cultivated for human consumption as seed and as sunflower oil.
A host of bird species are attracted to the seed because it contains vital oils. Many birds may also readily eat it because like them, it's native to the Americas. They would eat it even if you didn't offer it in a feeder. Some birds that you find eating your Black-Oil Sunflower seeds include: Northern Cardinals, American Goldfinches, Black Capped Chickadees, White Breasted Nuthatches, and Purple Finches, but really they are very good general all purpose seeds. A small list of birds seem interested in the Striped Seeds: Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks, Blue Jays, and Black Capped Chickadees.
These seeds can be easily dispensed in hopper feeders, tray feeders, or feeders made of wire mesh. One thing to note is that the shells of seeds can make a mess. They are totally worth the mess, and very easy to buy since they can be found anywhere from grocery stores to Farm & Fleet to Wild Birds Unlimited.