You may wonder to know that many species of birds prefer eating black oil sunflower seeds. You can create attraction to plenty of bird species around you, putting this food item into your feeders.
As native plants, sunflowers produce high energy seeds, containing up to 24% protein and 50% oil. By the fatty oil, they can keep their feathers shiny.
Also, birds try to consume extra calories from these seeds so that they can keep warm in the winter.
If you are going to know what birds eat black oil sunflower seeds, you have to learn about the seeds and their consumers well.
In this article, we will discuss some black oil sunflower seed consumers. Also, we will provide you some essential tips for using them in your feeders.
About Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seed is universally popular and suitable birdseed for year-round health. It contains a dozen of vital minerals with being rich in oil and protein. Calcium is another necessary item on the list, essential for healthy bones and eggs shells.
Two types of sunflower seeds are available from the same sunflower plant, Helianthus Annuus. One is black oil sunflower seed, and another is a striped sunflower seed. On the shell of the seeds, you will see black or striped markings.
Black oil sunflower seeds have thinner shells to crack rather than striped sunflower seeds. They also have a great amount of oil content, providing nutrition and calories to most winter birds in every bite.
Now, let’s have a look at the common nutritional elements of black oil sunflower seeds. These pieces of stuff make the seeds valuable in any bird’s diet.
- 28% fat
- 25% fiber
- 15% percent protein
- B vitamins
- Vitamin E
Where the Black Oil Sunflower Seeds Come From
A long history has been going down between birds and sunflowers from generation to generation.
The Native Americans grew black oil sunflower seeds for more than 5,000 years. Later, the Spanish conquerors brought them to Europe.
In the 1700s, the Russian people started to produce bigger sunflower seeds with higher oil content. In that time, Russia is the most sunflower producer country in the world.
By the early 1900s, the Russian sunflower found its way back to America as a cash crop. Today in the United States, 85% of the sunflowers are commercially grown in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
Also, most black oil sunflower seeds in Canada are produced in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Growing Sunflower Seeds
Black oil sunflower seeds are the easiest way of growing birdseed. You can plant the seeds in your yard or purchase them from nurseries.
After getting the sunflower seeds, plant them 1 to 2 inches deep and 8 to 12 inches on the ground. For getting the best results, simply plant the seeds when the spring is warm, and all the dangers of winter disappear.
You can plant sunflowers in any soil, and no supplemental fertilization is needed. Too much fertilization can even decrease seed growth, increasing the height of the leaf and stalks.
Taking Care of the Sunflower Plants
Water the plants every day until they are well grown. But in the very hot or dry climates, you have to water twice daily. Once they’ve grown well, they will need water every other day.
Besides, you should cut weeds around sunflower plants when they are very young. Once sunflowers grow several inches tall, the weeds are no longer a concern.
Also, when stalks grow taller than three feet or the seed heads become heavy, the plant may need stakes to ensure that they do not fall suddenly during high winds and storms.
After ripening the sunflower seeds, their heads turn downward, and the inner flowers shrivel. Then you have to cover the plants with a sturdy net. Otherwise, birds may eat premature seeds.
After all, when you are going to store the seeds, cut the heads of the flowers so that each stalk can be dried. After drying completely, you can crack the shells of the seeds to add to feeders. You can also put the dried heads in tray feeders without removing the hulls.
Birds That Eat Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
Black oil sunflower seed is one of the most popular foods among plenty of backyard bird species. Even, the birds, which prefer other foods, at least taste the seeds.
Here we’ve provided a shortlist of birds that usually eat black oil sunflower seeds:
- Northern cardinals
- Tufted titmice
- Mourning and Eurasian doves
- Gray catbirds
- Evening grosbeaks
- boat-tailed grackles
- Black-billed magpies
- Pine siskins
Besides, all species of jays, sparrows, and nuthatches willingly eat sunflower seeds. If you scatter the seeds on the ground, some birds such as quail, grouse, pheasants, and turkeys will quickly clean them.
Again, by eating sunflowers, chickadees can increase their body weight up to 12%. They also eat these seeds to survive in the cold winters.
How to Feed Sunflower Seeds to Birds
If you want to feed a variety of bird species black oil sunflower seeds, you can offer them the seeds in hopper or tray feeders in case the seeds are too large for mesh feeders. You can also scatter the seeds on the ground for ground-feeding birds.
Besides, you can give the birds whole seeds so that the birds themselves can crack the hulls to get the nutritious meat. Then, a massive mess of discarded shells will gather beneath feeders.
On the other hand, the young birds often don’t realize that they can’t eat the entire seeds and can choke if supplied with whole seeds on a flat tray to eat for themselves. In this case, if you only have a tray feeder, crush the seeds so that the young birds can eat comfortably.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q-1. Is black oil sunflower seed good for birds?
Answer: Yes! For example, 100 gram of dried sunflower seeds contains 5% water, 20% carburetor, 21% protein, and 51% fat in the form of oil. Also, the seeds are enriched in fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.
Q-2. Which seed attracts the most birds to the feeder?
Answer: If we say about just one, it will be black oil sunflower seed. You can attract many birds by plenty of blended seeds to a single feeder. With the right blend, the birds will eat the seed tray clean, so no seeds are wasted.
Q-3. Birds aren’t eating my seed anymore. What’s wrong?
Answer: Make sure the seed is not spoiled or rotten. If you see the worse condition of your feeder, empty the feeder to clean and fill it with fresh new seeds. If birds aren’t still eating them, make a different blend, and put into the feathers. You also have to be sure there is a source of fresh water near you.
Q-4. What kind of birds eat sunflowers?
Answer: There are some birds such as finches, nuthatches, chickadees, cardinals, grosbeaks, jays and some woodpeckers which eat sunflower seeds. Besides, bully birds, such as blackbirds, European starlings, and grackles, also love it, especially if you serve them in a tray feeder.
Black oil sunflower seeds have a higher percentage of kernels and are very nutritious sources of high-quality protein. They also boost a lot of fatty oil, which is especially essential in the winter. Birds use their oil glands to spread the oil over their feathers to keep them vivid, dry, and warm.
So, keep your bird feeder stocked with sunflower seeds, and you’re sure to enjoy a variety of colorful birds with hours of entertainment and enjoyment.
However, people who feed birds often forget that cleanliness is necessary for the health of the species. Seeds can become toxic when they start to rot, and then they can make the birds very ill.
Make sure to wash and alternate hanging feeders regularly, if possible, once in a month to avoid accidentally poisoning your feathered friends.