cheltenham chamber of citizens

Black oil sunflower seeds: High in fatty oils. Good for both migrating birds for energy, and winter birds storing up reserves to keep them warm. Possibly the best of all the sunflower choices.

Hulled sunflower seeds (also known as hearts or kernels) that are broken into smaller pieces (as sunflower chips) are a favorite of smaller finches
including Goldfinches, Redpolls and Pine Siskins.

Thistle: The seeds of the niger plant (trademarked as Nyjer) and often sold as "thistle," is also sought out by these same small finches. Note: the niger seeds have been sterilized so will not grow.

White proso millet: The favorite food of ground-feeding Sparrows, Juncos, Mourning Doves, andRed-winged Blackbirds.

Suet: Offers the necessary fat for energy regulation during migration and temperature regulation for surviving cold days. Draws in a more diverse variety that may not eat seed.

Nuts (including Peanuts): High in fatty oils to provide energy and warmth. Favored by Woodpeckers and Blue Jays.

Berries: Many birds that feast on high-protein insects in the summer switch to fruit and berries in the colder months when bugs are harder to come by.

Mealworms: Excellent source of energy and protein. You can buy them freeze-dried. There are also special feeders for mealworms made so the freeze-dried ever so lightweight larvae don’t blow away.

Note: No birds seem to prefer red milo (sorghum) or safflower seeds. Other seeds found in inexpensive bird seed mixes, which birds do not like include Buckwheat, Canary seed, Cracked corn, Flax, German millet, Red millet, Japanese millet, Red milo (sorghum), Oats hulled or whole, Rape seed, Rice, & Wheat.

An excellent website to use for identification purposes and to learn more about birds comes from Cornell University’s Ornithology Department: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news

Also, Wyncote Audubon Society  leads free monthly bird walks in which you may want to participate. Friendly, helpful, experienced birders will be glad to meet you. Many of them are our neighbors. Go to their website to see the calendar of events:

​ Some birds we can expect at our feeders, and/or on the ground include Northern Cardinal, Dark-eyedJunco, American Crow, Downy Woodpecker, Mourning Dove, Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jay, White-breasted Nuthatch, White-throated Sparrow, Red-bellied Woodpecker, European Starling, House Finch, Song Sparrow, Carolina Wren, House Sparrow, Carolina Chickadee

Other birds that may visit our feeders: White-crowned Sparrow, Flicker, Chipping Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Bluebird, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Goldfinch, Redpoll, Pine Siskin

Right now is actually a great time to start feeding birds to help them survive.

Start off by cleaning your feeders using soap and water or a bleach solution of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach. Rinse well, dry, and choose from the following to put out the best foods you can buy at a bird center or at a nature center to help migrating birds that
are going further south, and birds that stay here or come here for the colder months. Different feeders and foods will draw the greatest variety of birds. There are tube feeders, house-type feeders, platform feeders, peanut feeders, mealworm feeders, thistle feeders, and others. A good birding center will have many choices and can guide your selections.

Food Suggestions:


Female and Male Cardinal

Femaile and Male Eastern Bluebird




by Judith Gratz, Environmental Educator

Male Downey Woodpecker

White Breasted Nuthatch