Reclaim Your Feeders with Safflower

Can’t see your wild bird feeders for squirrels, grackles and blackbirds? Try filling your feeders with safflower seed or a squirrel free mix. High quality safflower seed is ideal for attracting cardinals, jays, house finches, doves, grosbeaks, nuthatches, and chickadees to your yard. Safflower seed is rich in fat and protein, which are needed for survival.

In many cases, safflower seeds will do the trick in stopping squirrels feed at your feeders. These small white seeds are high in protein and fat but have a bitter taste that blackbirds, starlings, grackles and squirrels generally don’t like. Start by offering safflower gradually, mixing it with the seed or seed blends you currently provide. Over time increase the amount of safflower until you are offering straight safflower. Here are some songbirds that do enjoy safflower seeds.

  • Safflower seeds are favorites of cardinals and are typically the No. 1 ingredient in mixes designed to attract these birds. Jays enjoy these seeds too.
  • Chickadees, house finches, titmice, nuthatches, buntings, and grosbeaks are some of the smaller songbirds that also like safflower seeds.
  • Many species of woodpecker will eat safflower seeds as well as their preferred foods, such as nuts
  • Mourning doves, named for their soft, sad-sounding call, are common backyard visitors; they like safflower seeds, too.