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How To Make Your Own Customized Bird Seed Blend!

How to Make Your Own Bird Seed

I love that my son Erik and daughter-in-law Kaitlyn live in the basement apartment of our house! Especially because I get to benefit from his obsessions/hobbies! Today Erik is sharing his latest with us. :-)  Erik writes……..   This year, I have taken great interest in feeding the wild birds in my neighborhood. I love animals, and was eager to put out some bird seed to see what kind of nature I could attract to my doorstep. It started with a standard, inexpensive, seed blend from the grocery store and slowly but surely the birds made their way to our backyard feeder. But it didn’t take an expert to see that some ingredients in the mix were MUCH more preferred than others.

Generally, the cheaper the bird seed mix, the more “filler ingredients” it contains. Things like ‘Milo’, sorghum, wheat berries, and other grain-products that most song birds will just push aside, are very common in several bargain seed blends.

I then tried a more premium blend from a specialty bird store, and the amount of birds I saw each day increased exponentially! However, because I’m obsessive, and slightly controlling, I thought that I could do the same thing, myself. I could control what ingredients went in, and how much of each ingredient I put in. These can be found in a grocery store bulk-bin, or most bird/nature shops will sell individual seed types in bulk. This way, I can find the cheapest and best possible source for each. I first just had to consider which birds I wanted to see each day.

Related: 7 Simple Ways To Make Your Yard A Haven For Birds

How to Make Your Own Bird Seed

First: the primary ingredient in almost any bird seed blend should be Sunflower seeds. Period. I prefer mine pre-shelled to prevent a mess under the feeder, but no other ingredient will attract seed-eating birds like Sunflower. Every bird I’m hoping to see this year will enjoy it.

How to Make Your Own Bird Seed

Second: Millet, particularly White Millet. A favorite of Juncos, Finches, Cardinals, and the most epic pair of Lazuli Buntings I’ve ever seen come through my yard. Just brilliant!

How to Make Your Own Bird Seed

Third: Shelled Peanuts. Jays, Nuthatches, Chickadees, and Woodpeckers love the stuff. In order for it to get dispensed with the other seeds in my feeder, I run a chopping knife over them for a quick dice. This just keeps the big pieces from clogging up the feeder ports.

How to Make Your Own Bird Seed

Fourth: Cracked Corn. I have some really cool Mourning Doves that love to eat what falls to the ground beneath the feeder, and they love the cracked corn. So do the Sparrows and Quail, who feed happily alongside them on the ground.

How to Make Your Own Bird Seed

Fifth: Dried Fruit. As soon as I added fruit to the mix, I quickly began seeing a family of gorgeous Evening Grosbeaks, and a spectacular Western Tanager. Consider which birds are local to you, and fruit-eaters, and you can find the best kind of dried fruit to add to your mix.

How to Make Your Own Bird Seed

My mixture for all the ingredients in my blend is about 70% Sunflower kernels, 10% millet, 10% peanuts (diced), 5% cracked corn, and 5% dried fruit. As stated above, sunflower is the most consumed thing at the feeder, and it should be the basis for any blend you concoct, based on what birds you want to attract (or discourage).

How to Make Your Own Bird Seed

Then I just add each measured amount to a clean bucket/container for a quick stirring, so each ingredient gets dispensed evenly.

How to Make Your Own Bird Seed

Once your custom mix is well-combined, it’s feeding time! I bought this particular feeder recently and really like how it has both perches, and a small tray to collect seeds to let slightly bigger songbirds come in. Different birds prefer different stands. But neither the perches or the tray are big enough for the peskier birds.

How to Make Your Own Bird Seed

Every region of the country has different birds, and a quick Google search will tell you what ingredients to add to your own customized bird seed mix.

Backyard Birds

My favorite birds to come through my Utah yard have been the Western Scrub Jay, the Western Tanager, and the Evening Grosbeak.

What is your favorite backyard bird?

How to Make Your Own Bird Seed

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • We use suet cakes now. Less mess & squirrels can’t get into the cage that the suet is in. They come already made with different mixtures of seeds. Our birds love them. I found with the loose seeds they sprouted &:grew on my patio.
    I have the suet attached to a hanging basket so whatever is dropped falls into the basket, and the birds eat it.
    I live near Vancouver, BC.

  • Hi Jill, I enjoyed the post on making your own birdseed blends. I bougjt two books that had great recipes and ideas for feeding the birds from Amazon ladt year.
    One is by Rhonda Massingham Hart, “Bird Food Recipes”, published by Storey, #A-137.
    The 2nd, published by Birds & Blooms, is titled “For the Birds”. Both have great ideas!
    One thing “For the Birds” talked about was adding red pepper flakes or powder to the feeders that the squirrels raid. Apparently birds can’t taste it, and are not harmed by it, but the squirrels can’t stand the pepper, so leave it alone.
    I’d never heard that. I’ll have to try it.
    Anyway, lots of good stuff, and the books weren’t expensive.
    Happy bird watching! By the way, saw my first Western Tanager at the feeder today! Beautiful!

  • This is fantastic! I buy the premium stuff, because it attracts the most birds. But it can be so expensive. I’m going to see if I can make it cheaper myself!

  • IN TALLAHASSEE, WHICH IS IN NORTHERN FLORIDA, THE PROBLEM WITH FEEDING OUR BIRDS ARE SQUIRRELS!!! WE’VE HAD THEM BREAK & ENTER A FEW FEEDERS, MAKE MESSES AND ONE EVEN BECAME STUCK IN A SQUIRREL-PROOF FEEDER (HE WENT TO OUR VET’S!)
    I WONDER IF YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS TO REPEL THEM.
    I DON’T BEGRUDGE ANY ANIMAL FOOD – BUT THOSE SQUIRRELS EAT IT ALL AND MAKE A HORRID MESS WHILE THEY’RE AT IT.
    THANKS FOR ANY IDEAS YOU HAVE IN THIS AREA!
    AUDREY

  • I love the wild birds, but due to the fact that I own 2 cats, I won’t be feeding the birds……………It’s for their safety……………………….

  • Since the subject of birds is out there. I would like to offer a warning/tip. Please do not use any type of netted bag(s) to feed the birds. I did this for a number of years without a problem. Then one time, I had to rescue a bird that had gotten its’ leg tangled in the netting. It was a horrible experience for the bird and me. If I wasn’t home to help the bird, it would have died from stress, cold weather or who knows what. Use the wire square holders that you can buy in most stores. They are not that expensive and can be used for many years. Thanks from the birds and me.

  • ERIK! I loved reading this. I used to get a lot of finches in the yard, but for several years now, I haven’t been able to attract them. I get a lot of cardinals and blue jays. Now, I am happy I will be getting more variety with this blend. THANK YOU!

    • Zakiah, finches love thistle seed. I buy it to attract them to my feeders and it works beautifully here in the Southeast. I can find it at my supermarket and hardware store, and Amazon.com has it available. Hope this helps. I love them, too!

    • The words “this particular feeder” in the post are underlined and green – if you click the words, it will take you straight to the Amazon page where we got it :-)

  • Great post!
    I was wondering though if you used salted nuts or unsalted as the picture looked as though the nuts had salt on them?

    We feed the birds year round. This is great.

  • When living on a Mt. top in southeast TN. we used shelled sunflower seed and received visitors like mentioned including wrens. Never saw buntings and didn’t to see if they lived in area but…cardinals were abundant! And unfortunately, so were squirrels. I am hopeful when I move further west, to try this mix. Thank you for sharing.

    • The only way I have out witted the squirrels – which by the way has been a 2 year battle! Attach a 12 inch piece of small stovepipe about 2 feet above your hanging feeder. I just put the line in where you snap it together. My feeder hangs about 5 feet from a tree limb. It has to be away from the tree far enough so they cannot jump to the feeder by way of limbs or the trunk of the tree. Squirrels are engineers and it has taken a lot of tries to outwit them!

    • Search Amazon for something called a “Squirrel Baffle”. It looks like a protective shield that will keep things from crawling up, or down to, your feeder. :-)

    • Put red pepper flakes in your bird feeders.Birds can’t taste how spicy it is but the squirrels can they will leave your feeders after one taste.

  • Now that’s my favorite post! Excellent, to the point info and great reading. We just bought an initial bag of bird food but I am going to try this next. Thanks for the recipe and look forward to more articles from you!

  • This year we have really begun to notice all the birds (and squirrels) because we are close to open fields versus tract housing. It has been interesting to see different birds showing up depending on what seeds we put out. It has been such a blessing and a great way to help my husband who has severe PTSD and chronic TBI from multiple combat tours,to be able to calm himself and find a hobby where he sees the fruits of his efforts. Not to mention it keeps the video game time limited. He and our five cats love to sit in the window and watch the feathered visitors! I read this to him and now he has a plan of making his own mixtures and build a couple houses for different areas. Thank you for sharing so many neat things! We both love your articles!!!

  • This is my favorite post yet. I love feeding my backyard birds and was out of food. I will be making my own from now on. Thanks for the recipe!

  • I love seeing Cardinals come to my feeder; but really like all if the birds who come (hummingbirds, wrens, sparrows, goldfinches, blue jays–rarely–I do not like the starlings though because the are pigs and will monopolize the feeder).

      • I am on the East Coast and I would like to get that feeder can you post any info on this where you bought It and the name of it. Also starlings do have a pretty song..Squirrlls are bad here.

    • I’m can tell you are in Utah! I’m see all those birds when it am there visiting, twice so far this spring. I’m enjoy all the beautiful birds, (except the woodpecker, my sister has wood shingles house..oops).
      My Mother lived there until her passing at 92, outside her window, we had many feeders and bird bath. It gave here much enjoyment. She was funny though, she would tap on her window when the magpies would come around….they “were bullies to her babies ). Lol
      It live in Indiana, not as many varieties for me here, but it have 11 humming bird feeds and a red fountain for them. If see Robins, Cardinals, sparrows, off course Hawks and Turkey vultures, we live out on 28 acres of nonfat med land, (bee hives) and we grow organic.
      But it love what you have done and the next time I’m up off of Wasatch Blvd, it will try this!!!!
      Enjoy your beauty….it wish it could live both places!!!

      • Wow my auto correct went out of control!! I’m am appently It…lol
        And my nonfat med lands..lol……are actually NONFARMED MEADOWS! We have it harvested in bales in the fall.
        I’m really do speak english…my phone and fibro fog went a bit crazy! Sorry, love you Jillee!

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