What Birds Eat Black Oil Sunflower Seeds?

Black Oil Sunflower Seeds

If you’re looking to attract a variety of birds to your backyard, black oil sunflower seeds are a great option. These small seeds are packed with nutrients that birds need, and they’re easy for them to eat. But what birds actually eat black oil sunflower seeds? Keep reading to find out!

What birds eat black oil sunflower seeds? Virtually all seed-eating birds eat black oil sunflower seeds. Everyday birds that love eating black oil sunflower seeds include chickadees, nuthatches, sparrows, finches, and cardinals.

What are black sunflower seeds and why are they liked by birds?

More than five millenniums ago, Native Americas grew the first black oil sunflower seeds and then Spaniards introduced them to Europe. By the 18th century, Russians began the mass production of oilseed sunflowers and made it into a cash crop. Currently, black oil sunflower seeds are mainly produced and cultivated in Canada’s Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

What’s interesting is that black sunflower seeds aren’t directly eaten by humans but are solely utilized for the extraction of oil. It was later on established that several birds like eating this seed.

As stated by USDA studies, 100 grams of completely dried black sunflower seeds comprised approximately 50% fat, 21% protein, 20% carbs, and 5% water. Additionally, these seeds are rich in vitamins E and B, fiber, as well as minerals like iron, zinc, phosphors, and magnesium.

Another great thing is that they also contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that are considered to be healthy body fats. This quantity of fat comes in handy during the cold winter months birds require added energy to balance and maintain the temperature of their bodies. The fatty oil contained in these seeds gives their coat a smooth and shiny look, and has a water-proof and insulating effect.

Apart from the nutritional gains, birds love black oil sunflower seeds as they are wise enough to differentiate between black sunflower and striped sunflower seeds. The shell found on a striped sunflower seed is a lot thicker, which makes it difficult for birds with small and soft beaks to break the shell. On the other hand, the shell on black sunflower seeds is normally really thin and so most birds are able to crack it quite easily and quickly.

5 birds that love black sunflower seeds

Virtually all types of birds eat black sunflower seeds. In this section, you will discover five birds that you are most likely to find eating your black sunflower seeds.

1.    Finches

These birds are known for their forked tails and chubby bodies. They also have a small pointed beak that comes in handy when cracking seed shells. Finches enjoy eating sunflower seeds and given their small size, these birds do not really consume a lot food.

2.    Cardinals

Cardinals are a popular songbird in southeast America. Their food mainly comprises insects, fruits, and seeds and so sunflower seeds will be a great bait if you wish to see these birds in your garden more often.

3.    Sparrows

These dull brown birds enjoy eating different seeds and black sunflower seeds are at the top of the list. In addition, they also like eating insects.

4.    Chickadees

These active birds have plumage with beautifully contrasting dark and light patches and are not scared of humans. Their normal diet consists of seeds, beans, tiny nuts, and peanut butter. They also enjoy consuming insect pupae or eggs.

5.    Nuthatches

This particular bird is distinguished by its brown underparts, bluish-gray back feathers, and a distinct dark stripe along with the eyes. Their food includes grains, nuts, and insects. In fact, the name “nuthatch” comes from ‘nut hacker’ which describes this bird’s action of pushing a nut into a crack in order to open it.

Apart from the species listed above, other birds that also feed on black sunflower seeds include golden sparrows, nightingales, warblers, gray catbirds, and several other backyard bird species. Even turkeys, quail, and chicken-like eating black sunflower seeds. Maybe it would even be easier to compile a list of birds that do not enjoy consuming black sunflower seeds given that nearly all birds like this particular nutrient-filled seed.

Feeding sunflower seeds to birds

If you are looking to feed different bird species with black sunflower seeds, you can do so using tray or hopper feeders. You can as well simply spread the seeds on the ground below for the ground-feeding birds.

Feeding the birds whole seeds allow the birds to crack the shells themselves to get the nourishing seeds. The younger birds can, however, get chocked by whole seeds given on a flat tray. For that reason, the seeds should be crushed to allow the young birds eat more comfortably.

The pros and cons of feeding black sunflower seeds to birds

Black sunflower seeds are not only liked by birds but are also a great and reasonable feed option for bird owners. Rich in nutrients, black sunflower seeds are cheap and can be found in any bird food store.

In addition, if you enjoy bird watching, these seeds can lure a broad variety of bid species to your feeders. And because of their tiny size, black sunflower seeds can properly fit into various kinds of bird feeders like hopper feeders, platform feeders, and tube feeders.

Nonetheless, feeding birds with these seeds can also result in a few problems that you need to know. The birds should first take off the hulls of the sunflower seeds as they eat and this leaves a mess of unwanted seed pods everywhere. It is important to note that the coats of these seeds contain a number of bio-chemicals that might affect your garden plants.

If you’ve placed a sunflower seed bird feeder in one spot for a long while and have let the seed hulls to heap on the grass, you’ve most likely noticed the natural crops or grass in that area succumb. To address this issue, you can either leave the region empty by not growing any grass there, or perhaps have the area paved with gravel.

Moreover, squirrels like eating sunflower seeds, which means that there will be lots of squirrels frequenting the bird feeders in your garden. Also keep in mind that that the tastiness of black sunflower seeds also attracts birds of prey, commonly called as bullies. Therefore, you should always watch out for them.

What to know when purchasing black sunflower seeds

Black sunflower seeds are not only good for the health of birds but their plumage as well. And just like other bird foods, sunflower seeds come in varying qualities. That said, there are some things that you need to keep in mind when purchasing your black sunflower seeds.

A packet of sunflower seeds can contain several empty shells, wood debris, and twigs depending on the processing facility’s handling and storage of the seeds. This debris at times gets stuck in the bird feeders. Moreover, why should you pay for wood chips and empty seed pods? Luckily, black sunflower seed bags normally have transparent packaging that allows you to assess the food’s cleanliness and general quality.

Final words

Virtually all birds that eat seeds love eating sunflower seeds including black oil sunflower seeds. Common American birds that love eating black oil sunflower seeds include chickadees, nuthatches, sparrows, finches, and cardinals. Having these seeds somewhere in your garden or backyard will certainly attract these stunning birds to your home.