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Hello all, I live in Northern Illinois and I am an amateur bird feeder, I currently feed nyger, black oil sunflower seeds, and suet, which attracts gold finches, many verities of sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, and woodpeckers. However, with the birds coming in the spring, I am looking to attract a greater variety of birds. In particular, the grosbeak, eastern towhee, indigo bunting, eastern bluebirds, titmice, some warblers, tanagers, and orioles. I know that is a long list and I do not expect to attract all these types of birds. I will keep the nyger seed regardless. If you had to pick 3 types of seed to attract the greatest majority of these birds, what 3 seeds/bird feeds would you select? Thanks and I appreciate the help with my bird obsession! :)

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Welcome!

If I had to pick only three, I'd stick with the black oil sunflower and the suet, and drop the nyger.  I don't know about IL but the only birds that eat nyger here in SC are American Goldfinches, and here they'll just as happily eat sunflower.  I'm too cheap to offer a relatively expensive seed that attracts relatively few species that will eat other things anyway.  I'd replace it with a blend of that has some striped sunflower, shelled sunflower, nuts, fruit bits, and millet.  The nuts and fruit will draw titmice, chickadees, woodpeckers, bluebirds, nuthatches, and others.  The birds that eat at the feeder likely won't eat the millet but will knock it to the ground for the ground feeding birds.  Don't get anything with milo, esp. if it's the first or second ingredient.  Few birds in urban or suburban environments eat it.

Grosbeaks and towhees are ground feeders.  To attract them, you'll either need to set up a ground-level platform feeder, scatter seed directly on the ground, or use feeders that allow the other birds to knock plenty of seed to the ground.  If you're going to try attracting ground feeders, you'll have to accept that some of the food is going to wind up inside squirrels.  ("Them's good eatin'!")

But why limit yourself to three?  Orioles can be drawn with either fresh fruit (which can be cut into chunks to fit in a suet cage) or with nectar feeders (similar to what's used for hummingbirds).  Oh, did someone say hummingbirds?  There's another option for the summer.  Bluebirds, warblers, wrens, and others respond well to mealworms, although they're a bit pricey.  Live or dried, they can be served up in almost any shallow cupped container.

I hope that helps!

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I think Charlie had some great suggestions for you. I have the same variety of birds that you're mentioning. I have ten feeders filled with different types of food (suet, mixed seed feeders, nectar feeders, nyger). I often mix a variety of seeds with nuts and dried fruit. Pennington has a nice mix with fruits and nuts, and I add safflower and sunflower seeds, as well as millet. I also toss in little balls of peanut butter made by C&S. It's a great treat for the birds. Pretty much everyone stays happy.

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1 hour ago, FamiliarFace said:

I also toss in little balls of peanut butter made by C&S.

I'm too cheap to buy those either.  I buy the C&S no-melt PB suet cakes and either cut it into chunks or crumble it.

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