Sunday, April 5, 2009


As you read my last post, on Getting Birds Into Your Backyard, I was going to post about Safflower Seeds. For a brief overview of the last post; there are two main steps to attract all sorts of birds.
  1. Define what birds you want to attract.
  2. Attracting birds into your backyard, and how to solve it.
  3. Ways to attract birds.
To learn more, click this Link.

I have heard a lot on Safflower Seeds, in attracting Cardinals and other birds. Some people say that Safflower Seeds don't do anything for attracting birds, that squirrels love it, and that it is a complete wast of money. One the other spectrum, people say that this is a miracle seed that attracts tons of beneficial song birds, is squirrel resistant, and that it is not a waste of money. So what does one do when both sides are very adamant on their views. To find out for myself if this seed would live up to its reputation of being a miracle seed, I tried it myself.

When I went to the store to find some Safflower, I readily found it with the rest of the bird seeds. I picked up the smallest bag I could find (a 10lb bag), this way it wouldn't be a complete waste of money if it didn't work. For a 10lb bag, it cost me about $10, so 1 dollar per lb. Not too bad. I brought it home and loaded up a feeder that has been sitting in my room all winter, waiting for an opportunity to go out and be enjoyed! I set it outside in an open area, where birds could easily find it. I waited for about 3 days for a bid to come and eat the Safflower Seed, but I had no sign of birds. No empty seeds shells lying on the ground or bird waste lying on the ground. On the fourth day, to my great thrill, there was a purple finch on my feeder cautiously eating. It didn't take long for the word to get out that there was a new feeder in town. In that day alone I saw several Cardinal, a Chickadee, Purple Finches, and a Red Poll. I was flabbergasted, I didn't think this would work, but it did.
It was sort of humorous, because each time I would come to the door to see the birds, they would see me and fly away. Eventually they overcame this paranoia of me. The main purpose of this feeder was to attract Cardinals into my yard, and it worked, along with some extra bonuses. The most Cardinals I have seen came into the yard, due to the feeder, was 5. There were 4 females and one male.

Turn Out:
I think this was a very successful experiment. I do believe that Safflower Seeds attracts song birds and tends to deter squirrels. Although I have read that if squirrels are hungry enough, they will eat this seed. But overall "Their GRRRREAT"


Randy Emmitt said...

Never thought safflower attracted birds very well. Black-oiled Sunflower seeds are the best bang for attracting birds.

tina said...

I love the safflower seeds for the birds as I think it works so much better than anything else out there, but like you said it is pretty expensive. More so even than regular sunflower seeds; which for me are about .50 per pound. Your birds sure agree and look happy.

Roses and Lilacs said...

I use quite a bit of safflower seed too. People with squirrel problems should try it. Unless the squirrels are very hungry they won't eat it.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

I have never tried the safflower seeds either. My birds just flock to sunflower seeds though. All of the different birds love them.I am glad to know that your safflower experiment went off so well.

Dan said...

I will have to look for these safflower seeds.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Zach,
Again, I've learned something from a birder more knowledgeable than myself! It's good that both you and Marnie confirm that squirrels don't like safflower seeds, because they are horrible thugs in our yard! We were given two really cool feeders for Christmas that looked squirrel proof, but the lousy tree rats chewed through the wire mesh to get to the seeds!

We're hoping that Hanna puts the fear of DOG in them this summer when she can spend more time outside in the back yard! We have a Cardinal couple that lives in our spruce and we want them to stay!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for experimenting for us Zach, now I'll give them a try too. I have seens lots of birds at my feeder the last few days, but still no cardinals. Yesterday I had several goldfinches, a starling, house finches and wrens all at the same time. Hubby saw a brown headed cowbird, but I missed that one.

Zach said...

Thanks for all your guys comments. On a whole, I am going to agree with you all about BOSS (Black oiled Sunflower Seeds) work better in attracting a larger variety of birds, but it also works wonders for attracting squirrels and all the other pests you don't like. Since a lot of our neighbors feed, as IVG says, the tree rats; I don't feel like feeding them. So Safflower is a good alternative.

Yes, I have had wonderful success with safflower seed. I just love getting all the cardinals that come. We have had about 6 cardinals at the feeder or near it, all at the same time.

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