Favorite Foods for Attracting Wildlife

Varied Thrush Eating Oats
Varied Thrush Eating Rolled Oats

Black-oil Sunflower Seeds

These smaller sunflower seeds attract more birds than the larger striped sunflower seeds. We see chickadees and nuthatches eating the small seeds along with the larger birds like the grosbeaks, jays and pigeons.


All the wildlife enjoy apples, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, salmonberries and elderberries. Watch a video of a female Western Tanager eating a blackberry. When blueberries and blackberries are in season, we set out dishes of fresh berries for the rabbits and other critters.

Hummingbird Nectar

Besides making nectar, hummingbirds find nature's nectar in the blooms of our honeysuckles, crocosmias, huckleberries, columbine, salmonberries, salvias, ribes, blueberries and flowering quince.

Peanut Butter Cakes

We use commercial peanut butter cakes and homemade peanut butter cakes. The homemade cakes contain cornmeal, maple syrup and sunflower chips. Because it is mostly peanut butter, it is a very special treat for all birds. We have grosbeaks, orioles, woodpeckers, sparrows, warblers and chickadees that love eating these cakes. Even the hummingbirds come by on occasion for a taste test. Of course, the chipmunks and squirrels also love the peanut butter cakes.


Mealworms are extremely nutritious providing a crude protein level of 50%. They can be purchased or home-grown. The are an important food source during the breeding season. It is best to offer mealworms in the morning and the last thing at night to supplement their diet.

Rolled Oats

To give the rabbits a treat, we put out a dish of rolled oats. We were very surprised to find out that many birds enjoy the dish of oats.

Suet Cakes

These are very popular with flickers, chickadees, towhees, song sparrows and blackbirds.

Sunflower Seed Chips (Medium-Sized)

The sunflower chips are a wonderful addition because it's not a messy food like black-oil sunflower seeds where there are the spent shells on the ground around the feeders. Flickers love the chips along with many other birds including the goldfinches, siskins, sparrows, thrushes, blackbirds and pigeons. The Douglas Squirrel or Chickaree is particularly fond of sunflower chips. Rabbits also nibble on the chips but prefer rolled oats.