Seed_eating birds that can be attracted to feeders include pine siskins, sparrows, grosbeaks, redpolls, and crossbills. These species also eat suet, but seeds will attract them to your feeder. Unsalted sunflower seeds, thistle seeds, raw crushed peanuts, millet, scratch feed, various wild grains, and canary seeds are welcomed. Commercial wild bird seed mixes can be used, but they often contain filler seeds that are not eaten by many species. Often, you can mix your own "wild bird food" more economically. Seeds can be purchased from local feed, variety, and pet stores, or ordered from catalogs. When you first start your feeder, experiment with various seeds and find out which are preferred by the birds in your area.
Water in a bird bath or other container often attracts birds in spring and summer, but the costs of maintaining open water through the winter are not justified. Birds survive on water derived from foods they eat and from eating snow. Seed_eating birds, like crossbills, are sometimes attracted by salt and other minerals that can be supplied by a salt block. Plantings for Wildlife: If your yard has few trees and/or shrubs, birds will probably not be attracted to a feeder. Their need for shelter and protection from predators is often stronger than their attraction to an artificial food source. Also, because birds will not normally visit your yard in search of natural food if there are no trees or shrubs, they would be unlikely to detect food in your feeder. Don't despair, however! Start planning to landscape your yard for birds.