Feeding less common birdseeds

I feed the usual things to the birds (sunflower hearts, peanuts, niger seeds, suet blocks) and I also feed white millet to the sparrows and dunnocks.

There are a bunch of other seeds I see on bird food websites that I haven't really heard of and I was wondering if anyone uses these seeds and what birds in the UK would eat them?

- Canary seed

- Oil seed rape

- Safflower

- Linseed

- Hemp seed

  • Hello Rokusili, welcome to the community. I would presume the Canary Seed is for Canaries, as to the others I really have no idea which birds you would feed them to, if they really need them or if they are maybe mixed in with some of the premium bird seed. I feed peanuts, premium seed, sunflower hearts, Niger seed and fat blocks and balls, all gets eaten.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Hi Rokusii, I have tried Safflower as I read the squirrels dont like them but the birds didnt take too kindly to them...however the badger and mouse enjoyed them very much.

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • Thanks Catlady and Linda257 for your replies!

    I had a search on some birdseed websites. Couldn't find anything on linseed and rape seed.

    Reallywildbirdfood.co.uk says hemp is eaten by greenfinches, woodpeckers, nuthatches, buntings and bullfinches.
    Vinehousefarm.co.uk says canary seed is eaten by house sparrows, siskins, many species of finch and buntings.
    Peckamix.co.uk says safflower is eaten by bullfinches, chaffinches, collared doves, goldfinches, greenfinches, house sparrows and nuthatches.

    The issue is I've never heard from anyone's personal experience having success feeding any of these seeds. And lots of birds just seem to go for sunflower hearts over any other options :/

    Maybe I should buy the smallest possible bag and a small birdfeeder just to test one of these out...

  • In reply to Rokusii:

    That is a good idea Rokusii, buy the smallest quantity you can get, just in case they don't get eaten and that way you have not wasted lots of money. I have found that that the sunflower seeds and Niger seeds are a big hit. In the last few days I have seen a good number of goldfinches return as well as chaffinches, blue and great tits, all flocking on these feeders.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Thought I'd come back with an update. I got a trial pack of 4 (hemp, linseed, canary seed, crushed oyster shell) from reallywildbirdfood.co.uk to try out. I put out the hemp seed to start out with and stopped refilling the sunflower seed for a few days to encourage the birds to try it. Anyway, so far the blue tits and coal tits have been eating it even after I refilled the sunflower seed.
    I might try the linseed next and see what eats that.

  • That's good, will be interesting to see what happens with the other foods.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Another update
    The hemp seed is pretty popular. The blue tits, coal tits and great tits seem to like it almost as much as sunflower seed.
    The linseed was not very popular. I only really saw the wood pigeons and doves eat much of it. The canary seed was a little bit better but not by much.
    I think I'll order hemp seed as a regular but not the rest.
  • Hello Rokusii,
    I've read a couple of papers that link year-round feeding of sunflower seed to reproductive problems, specifically in Greenfinch (the subject of at least one of the papers).
    Nice that, like Catlady, you're looking to vary.

    All the best -
  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Well hello Dave good to hear from you again, hope you are well and keeping safe. Happy New Year also, all the best for 2021.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Interesting! I'll look up these papers myself. I didn't know that but I did wonder if just giving them one type of food might be a problem down the line.
    I feel like more options might help attract different species and I like seeing them try different things so it's been a fun experiment!