How to attract a variety of winter birds to your feeder in Ohio

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black-capped chickadee and red-breasted nuthatch
A black-capped chickadee and red-breasted nuthatch feed on black oil sunflower seeds at a platform feeder.

The recent heatwave has encouraged a flurry of wildlife activity. Maybe you’ve even noticed more visitors at your birdfeeders.

Incidentally, more birds may just mean more of the same types of birds gathering around your feeders instead of a greater variety of bird species. 

Different types of birds prefer different types of food sources and styles of feeders. If you want to increase the biodiversity of the crowd at your feeder, you’ll have to start offering the preferred foods of the birds you’re hoping to attract in a way that they can access it.

According to Project FeederWatch and the citizen scientists providing updated data every two weeks, the species listed below are among the most frequently observed at Ohio bird feeders. Find out what types of food and feeders are favored by these common winter birds.

American Goldfinch

Food sources. American goldfinches are pickier eaters, visiting feeders in search of hulled sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds and nyjer.

Feeders. On the other hand, they will visit a variety of feeders, including platform, small tube feeders, small hoppers, ground feeders, large tube feeders and large hoppers.

American Robin

Food sources. Robins’ preferred food sources include hulled sunflower seeds, mealworms, peanut hearts, fruit and suet.

Feeders. Robins will visit platform feeders and ground feeders.

Black-capped Chickadee

Food sources. Black-capped chickadees are among the least picky and most frequently seen winter birds at feeders. They eat hulled sunflower seeds, safflower, black oil sunflower seeds, mealworms, peanut hearts, nyjer, peanuts and suet.

Feeders. They will visit small hoppers, large tube feeders, suet cages, large hoppers, platforms and small tube feeders.

Blue Jay

Food sources. Blue jays like to eat black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, fruit, peanut hearts, suet, safflower, cracked corn, milo, hulled sunflower seeds, mealworms and millet.

Feeders. They will visit large hoppers, large tube feeders, suet cages, ground feeders and platform feeders.

Carolina Chickadee

Food sources. Carolina chickadees will eat hulled sunflower seeds, nyjer, suet, peanut hearts, mealworms, peanuts, safflower and black oil sunflower seeds.

Feeders. They will visit suet cages, small tube feeders, large hoppers, platform feeders and large tube feeders.

Carolina Wren

Food sources. Carolina wrens enjoy snacking on hulled sunflower seeds, suet, peanut hearts and mealworms.

Feeders. They will visit platform feeders, large tube feeders, suet cages, ground feeders, large hoppers and small hoppers.

Dark-eyed Junco

Food sources. Dark-eyed juncos will eat hulled sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, milo, cracked corn, peanut hearts, millet, oats and safflower.

Feeders. They visit platform feeders, ground feeders and large hoppers.

Downy Woodpecker

Food sources. Downy woodpeckers will eat safflower, hulled sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, suet, mealworms, peanut hearts and peanuts.

Feeders. They will visit platform feeders, small hoppers, suet cages and large hoppers.

Hairy Woodpecker

Food sources. Hairy woodpeckers eat mealworms, suet, peanuts, hulled sunflower seeds, safflower, peanut hearts and black oil sunflower seeds.

Feeders. They will visit large hoppers, platform feeders and suet cages.

House finch

Food sources. House finches eat safflower, hulled sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds and nyjer.

Feeders. They will visit small tube feeders, large hoppers, small hoppers, platform feeders and larger tube feeders.

House sparrow

Food sources. House sparrows will eat milo, hulled sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, cracked corn, millet and black oil sunflower seeds.

Feeders. They will visit large hoppers, ground feeders, platform feeders and large tube feeders.

Mourning Dove

Food sources. Mourning doves will eat millet, hulled sunflower seeds, oats, nyjer, black oil sunflower seeds, milo, safflower, cracked corn and peanut hearts.

Feeders. They will visit platform feeders, ground feeders and large hoppers.

Northern Cardinal

Food sources. Northern cardinals will eat cracked corn, peanut hearts, millet, hulled sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, milo and safflower.

Feeders. They will visit large hoppers, large tube feeders, platform feeders and ground feeders.

Northern Flicker

Food sources. Norther flickers will eat cracked corn, peanut hearts, millet, hulled sunflower seeds, suet, peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds and safflower.

Feeders. They will visit suet cages, large hoppers and platform feeders.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Food sources. Red-bellied woodpeckers enjoy safflower, fruit, suet, hulled sunflower seeds, sugar water, cracked corn, black oil sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, peanuts and mealworms.

Feeders. They will visit nectar feeders, platform feeders, suet cages and large hoppers.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Food sources. Red-breasted nuthatches eat peanuts, mealworms, suet, hulled sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds and peanut hearts.

Feeders. They will visit large hoppers, large tube feeders, small hoppers, platform feeders, suet cages and small tube feeders.

Song Sparrow

Food sources. Song sparrows eat black oil sunflower seeds, safflower, peanut hearts, millet, nyjer, milo, cracked corn and hulled sunflower seeds.

Feeders. They will visit ground feeders and platform feeders.

Tufted Titmouse

Food sources. The tufted titmouse’s favorite foods include peanuts, hulled sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, safflower, mealworms, suet, peanut hearts and nyjer.

Feeders. They will visit small tube feeders, platform feeders, large hoppers, large tube feeders, small hoppers and suet cages.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Food sources. White-breasted nuthatches eat peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, safflower, hulled sunflower seeds, mealworms, peanut hearts and suet.

Feeders. They will visit suet cages, small tube feeders, platform feeders, large hoppers, large tube feeders and small hoppers.

White-throated Sparrow

Food sources. White-throated sparrows will eat milo, cracked corn, black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds and millet.

Feeders. They will visit ground feeders and platform feeders.

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