Bird Feeding Pantry


After regularly being frustrated by digging through tubs and fussing with ziplock bags, I finally got serious about organizing our bird food and ordered some OXO containers. These are the 4.3 quart, Pet POP Containers. Depending upon the density of a particular food, they hold slightly less than a standard 5 lb. bag. We chose these because they fit under our counter, but I would probably go up to the next size if I had space. Overall, I’m very happy with the setup. It’s nice to be able to see how much of each food we have at a glance, and it’s great to not be digging through bins full of ziplock bags, spilling seed, and making a mess. Here’s what we’re currently feeding:

Fine Sunflower Chips

Fine sunflower is the number one most popular bird food. It’s particularly attractive to the various species of finches and sparrows that are so prevalent in Northern California. My friends at Wild Birds Unlimited (WBU) tell me they can barely keep it in stock. We call it “bird crack”. Check out this video of a flock of goldfinches in a feeding frenzy on a tube feeder filled with fine sunflower. 

WBU No Mess Blend

No Mess Blend is a popular food that’s based upon sunflower chips but also contains other shelled seeds and nuts such as white millet and peanuts. It’s called “no mess” because it contains no shells so there’s little waste. The advantage of No Mess over straight sunflower is that finches throw the millet aside which the sparrows and doves then eat off the ground. 

WBU Choice Plus Blend

Choice Plus Blend contains the widest variety seeds, nuts, and fruit of any blend I’m aware of. It’s designed to attract the widest variety of birds and works really well on platform feeders for birds that won’t come to tube feeders. The blend includes black oil sunflower, chopped tree nuts, sunflower chips, shelled peanuts, suet nuggets, safflower, striped sunflower, cherries, and cranberries.

Black Oil Sunflower

Black oil sunflower is a staple item in any bird feeding pantry. It appeals to almost all seed-eating birds and is used as the basis for many standard blends. We like to place it on the platform feeder in piles to attract White-breasted Nuthatches and Purple Finches.


Nyjer (thistle) is a popular seed for attracting finches. It’s typically offered in a “finch feeder” with openings designed specifically for the tiny seeds. While many sources will tell you that nyjer is the best seed for attracting finches, in our experience they far prefer sunflower chips. We offer nyjer in a finch feeder as a backup for when our sunflower feeder is occupied.

Shelled Peanuts

Shelled peanuts are a favorite of Acorn Woodpeckers and California Scrub Jays. Both species regularly visit our wire mesh peanut feeder.