As much pleasure and entertainment as feeding birds bring us, it does come at a cost. Dollars and cents add up, and we need to strike a balance between feeding the quality seed and not breaking the bank.
The best way to make savings when buying wild bird food for your feathered friends is to buy bulk wild bird seeds of the right kinds. For this article, I’ve done the research to teach you more about:
- 10 great cheap bird food options
- The benefits of buying bulk bird seed
- Options to buy bulk wild bird food online
- The Best Bird Seed in 2022 – Full Bird Expert Guide
- Hummingbird Food Guide For 2022
- A Guide To Safflower Seeds For Birds
- Top 11 Best Bird Houses – Review Of 2023
10 Cheapest Bird Foods: How To Choose The Bulk Bird Seed
1. Cracked Corn
Cracked corn is a classic bird feed and the first one that comes to mind when thinking of cheap bird seed. Cracked corn is a great no-waste option, and being cracked into a smaller size than whole corn kernels, smaller birds can eat it.
There is one drawback to feeding cracked corn though, and that is the fact that this bird seed is also very popular with less welcome guests like house sparrows, European starlings, and squirrels. Remember to keep your cracked corn stored safely, preferably not in plastic as these seeds can become toxic if exposed to water and allowed to spoil.
2. Safflower Seeds
Safflower seeds are pretty tough and will mostly appeal to birds with strong bills, although doves enjoy these seeds too. The real benefit of safflower seeds lies in what they don’t attract. starlings, grackles, and squirrels are mostly not interested in this wild bird food, which is great news if you’ve found them taking over your feeders and muscling out your favourite songbirds.
3. Striped Sunflower Seeds
As far as sunflower seeds go, there are a few options. Each of them is great for bird feeding and each has its own particular benefits. Striped sunflower bird seed typically has thick shells which tend to keep house sparrows looking elsewhere.
While the shells of these seeds may be a bit too thick for some birds, others such as grosbeaks, chickadees, and cardinals will have no problem with this nutritious wild bird food source.
4. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
These oily seeds are one of the best birdseed food choices for many birds. Birds love the softer shells and high oil content of these sunflower meats and seeds.
Birds that will eat black oil sunflower seeds include nuthatches, grosbeaks, cardinals, titmice, finches, siskins, jays, and many more.
5. Hulled Sunflower Seeds
Hulled sunflower meats and seeds are great for a large variety of birds. These are a no-waste option that virtually any seed eater will enjoy, including squirrels, of course.
Hulled sunflower seeds are naturally more expensive than unshelled options due to the extra process that goes into their production. Hulled birdseed will save you the time and effort of cleaning up discarded shells below your wild bird feeder.
When using hulled sunflower seeds as bird feed, it is important to provide them in a specialized feeder that is designed to prevent spillage and waste. Hulled sunflower seeds are larger than other types of seed and can easily clog traditional wild bird feeders, leading to mould growth and attracting unwanted pests.
6. Nyjer Seeds
Nyjer seeds, from the plant Guizotia abyssinica, are great for smaller finch and seed-eating birds. These imported seeds are sterile and won’t germinate below your feeders. Be sure to use a feeder designed for smaller foods when using the tiny nyjer seeds.
Birds that will happily feed on nyjer seeds include redpolls, buntings, goldfinches, and siskins.
Overall, Nyjer seeds can be a nutritious and effective option for feeding small birds, but they should be used in combination with other types of seed and food sources to provide a varied and balanced diet. Additionally, it is important to choose high-quality Nyjer seeds that are free of contaminants and fillers.
7. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of nutrition that many birds love. As a seed for birds, they are pretty expensive but the fact that pumpkins are often on our own menus means you can harvest your own seeds at home or even ask friends and family to keep theirs for you.
Juncos, blue jays, cardinals, grosbeaks, and most seed-eating birds will greedily feast on pumpkin bird seed, so remember not to throw them in the trash next Halloween!
8. White Proso Millet
White proso millet is the best variety of millet for feeding birds. These small seeds are eaten by most seed eaters and are particularly enjoyed by ground-feeding species. These seeds can be served up in feeders or simply sprinkled on the ground for foraging birds to collect
When feeding birds with White Proso Millet, it is important to provide a clean and dry feeding area. Wet or dirty seeds can lead to mould growth and can be harmful to birds. It is also important to clean the feeding area regularly to prevent the buildup of debris and bacteria.
Peanuts are a great source of food for many bird species. These nuts are a rich source of energy that birds love. Being so rich in fat and calories makes this a great choice for winter feeding when birds need this the most.
A huge variety of birds will eat peanuts, including woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, and titmice.
Peanuts can be offered in a variety of ways, including in a specialized peanut feeder or mixed with other types of birdseed in a wild bird feeder. It is important to provide a clean and dry feeding area to prevent the growth of bacteria and disease.
Ok so mealworms aren’t seeds but birds do love them. By feeding only seeds, you may be missing out on attracting the insect-eating birds in your area to your feeders. Many seed-eating birds rely on insects to provide the high-protein food their chicks require while nesting.
Overall, mealworms can be a nutritious and beneficial addition to a wild bird’s diet, but they should be used in moderation and as part of a varied and balanced diet that includes other types of food sources.
Why Buy Bird Seeds in Bulk?
Buying in bulk, rather than small packages, has a lot of benefits for us birdwatchers who wonder how and where to buy bird seed cheaply. These are:
- Bulk savings: As with most things in life, it’s always cheaper to buy wild bird seed in bulk. Not only are you getting a better price per pound by bulk-buying, but also saving time and fuel.
- Bulk sustainability: Buying in large quantities is better for the world. By making fewer individual purchases, you’re relying less on long-distance transportation of goods and using less packaging. Bulk wild bird seed often comes in paper packaging, which is the better option when compared to the plastic packaging of smaller orders.
- Bulk convenience: Buying in large quantities saves you time in ordering or physically visiting stores. and you won’t run out every week.
- Return customers: When you buy in large quantities, you’ll be running out of food far less often, keeping you and your feathered friends happier in the long run.
Now that I’ve introduced ten great wild bird foods to you, you’re probably wondering which to start out with to attract the greatest number and variety of birds to your yard. Well, Instead of choosing just one variety of wild bird seed, it might be a better idea to choose a few since there are pros and cons to almost all varieties.
Considering the kinds of birds you’d like to attract to your feeders is one thing, but another important thing to think about is what kind of critters you don’t want to encourage.
My Top 5 Picks
Now that we’ve gone through ten cheap wild bird foods that you can use to attract birds, I’d like to give you my advice on the best 5 choices of bulk wild bird food online. These seeds have been selected to attract the best variety of songbirds and minimize visits from unwanted birds like grackles, house sparrows, and European starlings.
The web is about the best place to buy bird food simply because of the variety you can choose from and for its convenience. The idea behind this selection is to put together large quantities of bird seed collections so that you can make up your own bird feed mixes just the way you like them, and save you a ton of money.
This 50lb bag of black oil sunflower meats and seeds from EasyGo is great value for money. Being one of the most popular varieties of seeds for attracting wild songbirds to your yard, this bulk buy will keep them coming for longer.
A great energy source for birds with high oil content
Almost all seed-eaters will enjoy these seeds
Also eaten by Starlings, squirrels, and house sparrows
- Top rated seed that attracts a wide variety of birds. Perfect to offer a variety of food for the birds. Sunflower chips are a favorite for...
- Wild Birds Favorite – Excellent source of protein and energy for birds.
- Not for Human consumption.
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantee – We are so confident that you will like our Sunflower Kernels that if you return it within 30 days, we will...
Safflower seeds are well known for attracting songbirds while keeping squirrels and starlings looking elsewhere. This 50lb bag will make yours the most popular yard in the neighborhood for Cardinals, Chickadees, and many others.
Great food for Cardinals
Usually not eaten by squirrels
Does not attract a wide variety of birds
- WIDE VARIETY OF BIRDS - Great for Cardinals, Chickadees, Titmice, Doves, Purple Finch, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Woodpeckers and Grosbeaks
- HEALTHY BIRD FOOD – Safflower is loaded with fat, protein and oil. Grown in USA 100%. 16.18% Crude Protein, 38.45% Fat, 25.7% Fiber. Great...
- SQUIREEL DETERRENT - If you have trouble with squirrels eating your bird food this is a great choice as squirrels do not enjoy safflower...
- LARGE QUANTITY – 50 pound bag is large quantity for consistent refilling of bird feeders or spreading out on the ground.
- BIRD CONSUMPTION- This is bird food quality and not suitable for human consumption.
This 50lb bag of nyjer seeds is produced by the American company, Wagner’s, a trusted name in bird feed.
Nyjer bird seed is the best choice for keeping your small native seedeaters happy and well-fed. Birds like goldfinches, buntings, and siskins will love visiting your feeders for this long-lasting, waste-free delicacy.
Great for smaller native seedeaters
High bird seed density per pound
Nyjer seed is relatively expensive
- Nyjer seed is a perfect choice for nurturing finches with its high fat and protein content
- Nyjer seed packs an incredible 150,000 seeds per pound
- Seeds create no waste, no mess, no growth and more visits to your feeder
- Use with a finch tube feeder
This 50lb bag of peanut hearts sold by the Shafer Bird Seed Company is a great bulk buy that all sorts of birds will love. These shelled peanuts are usually broken up into small pieces which the birds will easily be able to feed on. Because they are ready to eat and without their shells, you should take care to store these peanut hearts in a cool and dry area so that they don’t spoil.
Most birds will eat peanuts
A great energy source for hungry birds
Squirrels love peanuts
- Peanut Hearts. Wild Bird Feeders And Accessories
- Manufacturer: SHAFER SEED COMPANY
- Manufacturer part number: 281670
- This is an aftermarket of generic part
White Proso Millet is a great choice for a variety of different birds. This millet makes a great filler for mixing up your own bird seed combinations and is enjoyed much more than the red millet often found in ready-made mixes.
This 50lb bag from the Shafer Bird Seed Company offers great bulk value, at a much better price than smaller packages.
Most seed-eating birds love White Proso Millet
Not a favourite of Starling’s
House sparrows enjoy these seeds
- Top rated seed that attracts a wide variety of birds
- Perfect to diversify seed offerings
- 100% Natural Seed grown in the USA
- Can be mixed with other seeds for custom formulas
- Not for Human consumption
Combined together, all 5 of these bulk bird seeds will make an excellent bird seed mix that will attract just about all of your favourite seed-eating songbirds. You’ll also save plenty of money by buying bulk wild bird seed and making your own mix.
Now that you have the freedom to mix up your own bird foods, try a combination of white proso millet, nyjer, and safflower seeds. This is a great mix for attracting songbirds, and keeping starlings away, as well as other ‘bully birds’ and squirrels.
If you find you’re feeding too many squirrels with this mix, there are a few steps you can take. The first thing to do is read this article on how to keep squirrels out of birdfeeders.
I would suggest making up a mix of White Proso Millet, Nyjer Bird Seed, and Safflower Bird Seed if you find that squirrels and starlings are getting the better of you. Put out the peanut, striped sunflower and black oil sunflower meats and seeds, mixed together or on their own, in an accessible place to keep the less desirable birds and squirrels happy and away from your bird feeders.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Other wild bird lovers also ask the following questions:
How Should I Use Bird Seed to Attract Wild Birds?
Depending on the species of bird you want to attract through wild bird feeding, you should use a specific type of wild bird seed. Generally, most birds prefer a large variety of seeds, including cracked corn, sunflower meats and seeds, millet, and nyjer seed.
Nonetheless, several bird species like flacons have particular bird seed affinities; for instance, finches adore nyjer seeds. Woodpeckers favour suet cakes and sunflower meats and stripped sunflower meats is another wild bird-feeding seed preferred by grosbeak. However, to attract the likes of Blue jay, you may want to add peanuts and other tree nuts to the feeder.
To choose the proper bird seed and tree nuts blend, it is best to do some study on the species of birds that inhabit your area and their feeding preferences. This will help you choose the right bird seed for wild bird feeding. Then, when you find the right bird seed, ensure to get them in large quantities, so you don’t run out quickly.
It’s crucial to remember that changing seasons necessitate varying food requirements for wild bird feeding. Birds require high-energy diets in the winter to stay warm, while they require high-protein foods during the breeding season to aid in egg production and feeding their young. Modifying your feeding practices for birds to accommodate their seasonal requirements is crucial.
How Frequently Do I Need to Refill the Bird Feeder?
Particularly during the winter months, when birds require more food to maintain their energy levels, you should restock your bird feeder every two to three days. However, the number of birds that frequent your feeder and the size of your feeder also influence how often you should restock it.
Always remember to wash your hands after handling bird seed and tree nuts items and feeders to prevent mold, bacteria, or bugs in the feeders.
How Often Should I Clean Wild Bird Feeder?
It’s not very tidy when birds mix at feeders; they gather and distribute dirt, bacteria, and bird seed. In addition, feeders have contributed to the spread of conjunctivitis among some bird species; the eye condition hinders their eyesight, making it difficult for them to identify predators and find food.
In order to avoid the spread of diseases among birds, it’s crucial to clean your feeder. An unclean feeder can develop into a haven for bacteria and fungi that can afflict birds. You can use a soap-and-water or bird feeder cleaning solution. Then, add more wild bird seed, and allow it to dry.
How Can I Prevent Squirrels and Other Predators From Accessing My Bird Feeder?
Attracting birds to your yard in a squirrel-prone area can be a hassle. The reason is that birds avoid feeders when squirrels are nearby. The feeder is typically taken over by squirrels, which prevents birds from using it. You can buy squirrel-proof feeders or add a baffle to your current feeder to keep them away from your feeder. Mount your feeder on a pole or hook at least 5 to 6 feet above the ground to keep squirrels from climbing on nearby trees or structures.
Buying in bulk definitely has some real benefits for us birdwatchers. Knowing what to buy and where to get it can be a bit intimidating.
With this guide on how to choose wild bird seeds in large quantities, you can now buy with confidence and enjoy your birdwatching even more. Also, check out our bird bathhouses and the best bird houses that can give your birds the paradise they deserve.
Last update on 2023-09-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API