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 best quality seeds and not breaking the bank.
The best way to make savings when buying food for your feathered friends is to buy bulk 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
Table of Contents
- 10 Cheapest Bird Foods: How To Choose Bulk Bird Seed
- Why Buy In Bulk?
- My Top 5 Picks
- Final Thoughts
10 Cheapest Bird Foods: How To Choose 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 seeds. This seed 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 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 fast becoming one of the most popular bird seeds because they have the ability to attract wonderful native birds like cardinals and finches.
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 food, which is great news if you’ve found them taking over your feeders and muscling out your favorite 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 seeds typically have 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 food source.
4. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
These oily seeds are one of the best bird seed choices for a wide variety of birds. Birds love the softer shells and high oil content of this type of sunflower seed.
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 seeds are great for a wide 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 seeds will however save you the time and effort of cleaning up discarded shells below your birdfeeder.
6. Nyjer Seeds
Nyjer seeds, from the plant Guizotia abyssinica, are great for the 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.
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 seeds, 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 wild 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
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 wild birds need this the most.
A huge variety of birds will eat peanuts, including woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, and titmice.
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.
Why Buy 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 cheap. These are:
- Bulk savings: As with most things in life, it’s always cheaper to buy birdseed 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 bulk 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 birdseed often comes in paper packaging, which is the better option when compared to the plastic packaging of smaller orders.
- Bulk convenience: Buying in bulk saves you time in ordering or physically visiting stores. and you won’t run out every week.
- Return customers: When you buy in bulk, 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 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 bulk 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 bird foods that you can use to attract birds, I’d like to give you my advice on the best 5 choices of bulk 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 a bulk bird seed collection 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 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
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
This 50lb bag of nyjer seeds is produced by the American company, Wagner’s, a trusted name in bird feeds.
Nyjer 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 seed density per pound
- Nyjer seed is relatively expensive
This 50lb bag of peanut hearts sold by the Shafer 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
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 Seed Company offers great bulk value, at a much better price than smaller packages.
- Most seed-eating birds love White Proso Millet
- Not a favorite of Starlings
- House sparrows enjoy these seeds
Combined together, all 5 of these bulk bird seeds will make an excellent wild bird seed mix that will attract just about all of your favorite 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 Seed, and Safflower Seed if you find that squirrels and starlings are getting the better of you. Put out the peanut and black oil sunflower 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.
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 bulk bird seed, you can now buy with confidence and enjoy your birdwatching even more.