What Do Backyard Birds Eat? (The ULTIMATE Guide)

Do you love birds and want to attract them to your backyard? Or maybe you already have some feathered friends visiting, and you are wondering what to feed them? Whatever your situation, having a backyard full of birds is a delightful way to bring nature into your home.

The ULTIMATE guide to backyard birds will answer all your questions about what do backyard birds eat.

We will cover different types of bird food, including bird seed, peanuts, suet, mealworms, fruits, insects, and water sources.

Read on to learn how to make your backyard a haven for these beautiful creatures!

Short Answer

Backyard birds eat a variety of foods.

This can include seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects.

Many birds also like to eat suet, which is made from beef fat.

In addition to these foods, many people also enjoy providing backyard birds with bird feeders filled with a variety of bird seed mixes.

Types of Bird Food

When it comes to backyard birds, providing a variety of food sources is key to attracting a variety of birds to your yard.

The most common type of bird food is bird seed, which can be purchased in a variety of mixtures at any pet store or garden center.

Bird seed is generally composed of various grains, such as millet, sunflower seeds, oats, and others.

Peanuts, suet, and mealworms are also popular bird foods and can be purchased in small quantities to offer the birds.

Fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes, and berries can also be offered as a treat.

For birds that feed on insects, you can provide mealworms, crickets, and waxworms, which can be purchased at a pet store.

Additionally, providing a source of fresh, clean water is essential for the health of backyard birds.

This can be done by filling a shallow dish or bird bath with water, or even providing a bird fountain.

By providing a variety of food sources, you can attract a variety of birds to your backyard.

Bird Seed

When it comes to feeding your backyard birds, bird seed is a popular choice for many bird lovers.

Bird seed is a combination of different seeds that can provide birds with a range of nutrients and energy.

Common bird seed mixtures include sunflower seed, millet, safflower, and cracked corn.

Depending on the bird species, some birds may prefer certain types of seeds over others.

For example, finches and sparrows may prefer small, thin seeds such as millet, while larger birds such as cardinals and doves may prefer larger seeds such as sunflower and safflower.

Additionally, some birds may only eat specific types of seeds, such as nuthatches who prefer sunflower seeds.

When purchasing bird seed, its important to make sure youre getting quality seed mixes that are free from fillers.

Fillers can include rice, milo, red millet, and oats, which birds cannot digest.

Its also important to buy seed mixes that are free from chemicals, as these can be harmful to birds.

The best bird seed mixes are made with non-GMO and organic ingredients.

When feeding your backyard birds, its important to provide the right seed mixes for the type of birds youre looking to attract.

Additionally, providing bird feeders in a variety of sizes and shapes can help attract a wide variety of birds.

Placing bird feeders in different areas of your yard can also help attract birds and provide them with the nutrition they need.


Providing peanuts for backyard birds is a great way to attract a variety of species to your garden.

Peanuts are a great source of protein and are a favorite of many birds, especially chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, nuthatches, and jays.

Peanuts can be offered either shelled or unshelled, although offering them un-shelled can help birds develop important skills such as cracking open their own food.

It’s also important to provide unsalted peanuts, as the salt can be harmful to birds.

Peanuts can be offered alone in a feeder or mixed in with other birdseed for added variety.

Additionally, peanut butter can be used as a binder to attach larger items such as suet cakes or fruit to bird feeders, providing birds with an additional source of nutrition.


Suet is a great source of nutrition for backyard birds, and is especially popular among woodpeckers, jays, and starlings.

Suet is a type of animal fat that is typically sourced from beef or mutton, and is easily found in most supermarkets.

When offering suet to birds, it’s important to look for high-quality suet that is free from added ingredients such as corn, milo, or chemicals.

Additionally, for the health and safety of the birds, suet should be stored in a cool, dry place and should not be left out for extended periods of time.

Suet is a great way to provide high-energy food for backyard birds and can be offered in a variety of ways.

Many people opt to buy pre-made suet cakes, while others prefer to make their own.

If making your own suet, you can mix equal parts of melted suet and bird seed, then add in additional ingredients such as chopped nuts, dried fruit, or mealworms.

Suet can also be placed in mesh feeders, suet logs, or even in a mesh bag and hung from a tree.

When offering suet, it’s important to keep in mind that not all birds will be attracted to it.

Many seed-eating birds, such as sparrows, finches, and doves, prefer seeds and other grains rather than suet.

Additionally, suet should not be offered to chicks or nestlings, as it can be difficult for them to digest.

Overall, suet is a great source of nutrition for backyard birds and can be a great way to attract a variety of birds to your yard.

When offering suet, it’s important to make sure it is of high-quality and is stored and served safely.

Additionally, not all birds will be attracted to suet, so it’s important to offer a variety of food sources to ensure everyone is getting the nutrition they need.


Mealworms are a popular food source among many backyard birds.

These small larvae are packed with nutrition, providing a great source of protein, fat, and fiber for birds.

Mealworms can be offered to birds as a treat or as a regular part of their diet.

They are especially popular with ground-feeding birds like quail, doves, and thrushes, as well as larger birds like jays and woodpeckers.

Mealworms can be purchased in bulk at many pet stores or online retailers.

When offering mealworms, it is important to ensure they are fresh and free of mold, as spoiled mealworms can make birds sick.

It is also important to keep the mealworms in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Mealworms can be offered in a variety of ways, such as in feeders, on the ground, or placed directly in bird baths or water dishes.

Offering mealworms is a great way to attract a variety of birds to your backyard and provide them with a nutritious food source.


When it comes to backyard birds, the types of fruits they consume can vary depending on the species.

Fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes, and berries are all popular favorites among birds.

Berries are particularly popular among birds as they are a source of protein, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Additionally, fruits can provide birds with an array of antioxidants that can help them fight off disease and infection.

Fruits are also a great source of energy for birds, which can help them stay active during the colder months.

To attract a variety of birds to your backyard, it’s important to provide a variety of fruit sources.

This could include offering fruits in your bird feeder, or even directly on tree branches.

Additionally, you may want to consider planting fruit-bearing trees in your backyard, as these can provide a great source of nutrition for birds.

Lastly, don’t forget to keep an eye out for fallen fruits that may have dropped from trees, as these can provide a nutritious snack for birds.


For backyard birds that feed on insects, there are several options to consider.

Mealworms, crickets, and waxworms are all excellent sources of protein and offer a variety of nutrition for your feathered friends.

Mealworms are particularly popular among backyard birds, as they are easy to find and provide an excellent source of protein.

Crickets are another great source of protein, and they can be found at local pet stores or online.

Waxworms are a more expensive option, but they provide an even higher protein content than mealworms or crickets.

Additionally, mealworms, crickets, and waxworms can be offered in a variety of forms, including dried, freeze-dried, and live.

All of these options can be used to attract a variety of insect-eating backyard birds.

Water Sources

Providing a source of fresh, clean water is essential for the health of backyard birds.

Without a reliable source of water, birds will struggle to survive in the heat of summer and the cold of winter.

Luckily, there are a variety of ways to provide water for backyard birds.

Bird baths are a great way to ensure a continuous supply of clean water for birds.

Bird baths should be shallow and not exceed two inches in depth.

Additionally, the water should be changed regularly to ensure that it does not become stagnant.

Bird baths should also be placed in a location where birds feel safe and secure.

Other water sources for birds can include shallow dishes filled with water, fountains, and misters.

Misters are especially beneficial during the hot summer months, providing birds with a cooling source of water.

For safety, it is important to make sure that water sources are not placed near areas where cats or other predators may be able to access them.

Providing water for backyard birds is an essential part of keeping them healthy and happy.

Final Thoughts

By providing a variety of bird foods and water sources, you can attract a wide variety of backyard birds to your yard.

Bird seed, peanuts, suet, mealworms, fruits, and insects can all be offered to provide your feathered friends with a nutritious and varied diet.

Additionally, make sure to provide a source of fresh, clean water for the birds to drink.

With this ULTIMATE guide, you will be able to ensure that all backyard birds receive the nutrition they need to live healthy and happy lives.

James Lopez

James Lopez is a lifestyle journalist. In addition to working as a journalist, he also takes courses in landscape design. He is pretty focused on the outdoor space, especially the backyard.

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