Safflower seed

If you're like many people, you have a bird feeder in your garden or yard. You probably fill the feeders with a mix of seeds: sunflower, cracked corn, millet, possibly nyjer, and other small seeds that you can't identify. Maybe you've realized that most birds go for the sunflower seeds first, so you've switched to that and gave up on the mixes.



I know in my yard the small seeds from the mix always ended up on the ground, where squirrels and chipmunks stuffed their cheeks and filled their dens and food caches. I was fine with this to some extent, but when the grackles showed up and I watched them work as a team to empty my feeders in a matter of minutes, I knew I had to find an alternative. So I turned to safflower seed.

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The two main advantages to safflower seed: squirrels don't like it, and grackles can't open the shells so don't eat it either. Excellent! Most of the other seed-eating birds seem to like it: cardinals, house finches, sparrows, woodpeckers, nuthatches.

Disadvantages? Price is first, as it's about $2/lb. That's at least 3x the price of sunflower seeds, and 10x the price of the cheapest mixes (which you probably don't want to use anyway).

The other, bigger disadvantage though? 







Chipmunks love it! (Yes, this one is inside the feeder!)
They also love the fact that they don't have to compete with squirrels for it.

In fact, chipmunks give safflower seed a 10 out of 10 rating! Five stars!




(I think that deer eat the safflower seed too, or maybe it's raccoons -- sometimes the feeder is empty in the morning, and that's not due to chipmunks.)

I suppose I'll have to get a fancier feeder that chipmunks can't access as easily, or at least put an obstruction on the pole.

So, do I prefer safflower seed over sunflower or the mixes? I think so, as I don't have to chase squirrels or grackles away anymore. I just wish it were less expensive!


Do you have any experience with safflower seed or any other alternative bird food?

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Maywyn Studio  – (June 4, 2014 at 11:16 AM)  

Hilarious and informative post.
I laugh when I see the chipmunk. A baffle will prevent them from climbing up to the feeder, but not from jumping down on it if there's a tree limb nearby. Feeders are a no no around here because they attract bears and such.

Kathy G  – (June 4, 2014 at 6:12 PM)  

I got tired of pulling sprouted seed up from the grass underneath the feeder so I tried nyger. The birds snubbed it.

Anonymous –   – (June 5, 2014 at 12:23 AM)  

Look for signs of Norway rats.
Bruce. in Ft. Collins

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