Will a Seed Only Diet Provide Birds with all Essential Nutrients?

Feeding birds the right foods is important for their health. When feeding birds, you should realize that they have differing dietary needs and hence you need to put a variety of food types in the bird tables you put out for the birds in the backyard. Even for seed eating birds, seeds alone will not provide a balanced diet for the birds. Even when you use various kinds of seeds the birds do not get the necessary vitamins and minerals that they need for optimal growth. Seeds are to birds what Candy is to your children. Just like you cannot feed your children on candy alone, birds should also be offered some variety of seeds and other foods that they may not prefer, but are necessary for their continued health. Birds rely on a combination of natural resources and supplement feeding to survive.

There has been much controversy over another seed that is favored greatly by many bird species; The niger seed. This seed is high in oil content and a favorite of finches. It is mistakenly or intentionally marketed as thistle to take advantage of the finches’ preference for thistle. Nyger, as it is sometimes called, has many other names including ramtil, inga seed and blackseed. Ground feeding species such as doves and juncos find this seed variety very attractive. It can be bought separately or it can be found in many wild bird seed mixes. There have been complaints of bird enthusiasts putting the seed on their bird feeder for up to six months and the birds have completely ignored the blackseed. Whether such reports are true or not cannot be ascertained since for it to be commercially sold as a bird food, there must have been adequate research into its acceptability to a variety of birds.

It is important to add variety and appeal to the food that you put on the feeding stations. Birds eat by sight, texture and taste. Brightly colored vegetables can be added to the feeding tray to provide a balanced diet. Add sunflower hearts, a favorite to many species of bird, to the mixture. Also keep them in their natural state as much as possible by becoming more creative in how you present the food to them.