What Birds like Safflower Seeds?

what birds like safflower seeds

Not to be confused with that of the sunflower seed, safflower seed is the more unique and often rarer type of bird food offered at bird feeders.

However, if you’re looking to attract a specific type of bird that is partial to a bit of safflower seed, these seed types will ensure those birds with an acquired taste will frequent your feeder time and time again.

Though not as common a type of birdseed that is regularly sold in most stores, you will more than likely find safflowers sold at dedicated pet stores, wild bird stores and indeed online – and most often in bulk.

Here we consider those birds that prefer the safflower seed and why it’s so popular with some and not with others!

What Kind of Seed Is Safflower?

Safflower seeds come from that of a safflower plant. An annual type of plant, it is perhaps one of the most attractive of plants that can be grown in the garden. With a vibrant display of red, yellow, and fiery orange blooms, safflower plants certainly add a touch of color to any outdoor area.

Though – some gardeners tend to be put off by this plant’s unfortunate foliage which is rather scraggy, and thistle-like in appearance.

But, if you’re looking to offer safflower at your bird table, then these plants could just be one of the best choices for your garden as you can cultivate your own and take then straight from your own patch.

Visually these seeds are the smaller of types and resemble a reduced size than that of black oil sunflower seeds. They are however very similar in the shape of the sunflower seed. White in color, safflowers are the type of seeds that offers the maximum of nutritional properties to many varieties of back yard birds.

Which Birds Regularly Eat Safflower Seeds?

Though they may pose some great dietary value and look like the most appealing of seed types, only an elite class of bird will choose to eat safflower seeds!

This is mostly due not just to its rather unique and bitter taste, but in part because it requires the thick shell to be cracked open before it can be eaten. It also looks different from that of other standard seeds due to its unusual shape.

However, safflowers will tempt the following birds when placed in your feeders:

  • Cardinals
  • Grosbeaks
  • Chickadees
  • Doves
  • Native Sparrows
  • Blue Jays
  • Woodpeckers
  • Some Finch Varieties
  • Titmice
  • Nuthatches

How Should Safflower Seeds Be Offered to Birds?

As with most other bird seed types, safflower seeds can be fed in tubes and on platforms. Adequate perch space is crucial here as it will encourage birds to stand comfortably and spend a little time breaking these seeds up at the actual feeder.

Basically, any type of feeder that can hold sunflower seeds will more than likely be able to accommodate safflower seeds with ease.

Those ground-feeding birds, such as doves, may also benefit from having a little of their safflower seeds scattered on the ground. This works well near the more sheltered and shrub areas of the garden or yard.

The Advantage and Disadvantages of Offering Safflower Seeds at Your Bird Feeder

Advantages
  • Safflower seeds offer a good level of fat and protein
  • The seeds are small
  • They’re a relatively inexpensive seed type and often sold cheaply in bulk
  • Can be bought as entire safflower seed bags, in a bird’s seed mix bag, or as a safflower seed cylinder
  • Ideal for use on those feeders where you want to eliminate dominant bully birds
  • Can be offered to birds in several ways
  • Can be grown in your own garden

Though there aren’t too many disadvantages of providing a regular supply of safflower seeds at your bird station, you may want to bear in mind a couple of possible problems:

Disadvantages
  • The white shells of this seed are left behind once they’re cracked open – meaning a little bit of mess left behind!
  • Some birds can take a while to get used to the distinct flavor of this food, so it may be ignored when you first place it out
  • Not all visiting birds will appreciate the presence of safflower at their feeder; therefore, you may need to offer other seed types besides to keep them happy!

Not All Garden and Yard Visitors like Safflower Seeds!

Though many bird lovers leave out safflower seeds especially for those birds who love the taste of it, some also leave it out as a deterrent.

It’s widely known throughout the birding work that those pesky garden and unwanted back yard visitors such as squirrels, to name but a few, do not like the presence of safflower!

However certain bird types, such as blackbirds, will also turn their noses up at safflower seeds, as unfortunately will many starlings.

Therefore, if you want to continue to feed these visitors as well, it’s a good idea to place out plentiful choices and perhaps a couple of different feeding pots, alongside safflower seeds, to keep all your feathered friends happy!

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