What Birds Eat Sunflower Hearts

Last Updated on April 19, 2023 by

Birds are an integral part of our ecosystem, playing a vital role in maintaining the balance of nature. As such, it is important to understand their dietary habits and preferences in order to provide them with the necessary nutrition for survival. In recent years, one particular food item has gained popularity amongst bird enthusiasts – sunflower hearts.

Sunflower hearts are essentially hulled seeds from the sunflower plant that have been removed from their shells. They are rich in energy and contain high amounts of protein and fat, making them an excellent source of nourishment for birds. But which birds specifically eat sunflower hearts? In this article, we will explore the various species of birds that regularly feed on these nutritious seeds and delve into why they find them so appealing.

Nutritional Value Of Sunflower Hearts

Sunflower hearts are a popular choice for bird feeders due to their high nutritional value. They contain essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, and healthy fats that birds need to maintain optimal health. Sunflower hearts are also rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.

One of the main benefits of feeding sunflower hearts to birds is that they provide an excellent source of energy. The high-fat content in these seeds gives birds the quick burst of energy they need to fly long distances or perform other strenuous activities. Additionally, sunflower hearts can help keep birds warm during colder months by providing them with the calories they need to generate body heat.

Overall, including sunflower hearts in your bird feeder mix can be incredibly beneficial for attracting a wide range of avian species. Whether you’re looking to attract goldfinches, blue jays, or chickadees, there’s a good chance that these birds will enjoy feasting on this nutritious seed. In the next section, we’ll explore some common types of birds that eat sunflower hearts and discuss how best to serve this tasty treat to our feathered friends.

Common Birds That Eat Sunflower Hearts

Sparrows, finches, doves, cardinals, woodpeckers, nuthatches, jays, robins, blackbirds, starlings, pigeons, crows, wagtails, goldfinches, and titmice are all common birds that love to eat sunflower hearts. They’re a good source of fats and proteins, and are a great addition to any bird’s diet. Robins, blackbirds, and starlings will often pick out sunflower hearts from a feeder, while woodpeckers, nuthatches, and jays will peck away at the husk of the sunflower to get to the seeds inside. Finches and goldfinches are especially fond of sunflower hearts, and will flock to a feeder to pick out the seeds. Crows, wagtails, and pigeons will also eat sunflower hearts, but their preference is usually for other types of food. Titmice are quite fond of sunflower hearts, and will often eat them alongside other seeds.


As you watch the sunflower hearts scattered on your bird feeder, a group of small brown birds suddenly appears. They are chirping and hopping around while pecking at the seeds with their sharp beaks. These little creatures are none other than sparrows, one of the most common birds that eat sunflower hearts.

Sparrows belong to the family Passeridae and are well-known for their small body size, stout bill, and brownish plumage. They are social birds that thrive in urban areas where they can find plenty of food sources. Sunflower hearts are among their favorite foods because they provide them with essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, fats, and carbohydrates.

If you want to attract more sparrows into your backyard or garden, make sure to offer them a variety of seed mixes including sunflower hearts. You can also add some millet or nyjer seeds to give them an extra boost of energy during colder months when insects become scarce. Keep your feeders clean and filled regularly to ensure that these delightful birds will keep coming back for more!


Now that you know about sparrows, let’s move on to another common bird species – the finches. Finches are a diverse group of birds belonging to the family Fringillidae, and they come in various sizes and colors. Some of the most well-known species include house finches, goldfinches, and purple finches.

Like sparrows, finches also enjoy sunflower hearts as part of their diet. These seeds provide them with a high amount of energy due to their fat content, making them an excellent food source during colder months when insects are scarce. However, it is essential to note that finches have a unique beak shape that allows them to break open small seeds such as nyjer or millet.

If you want to attract more finches into your backyard or garden, consider offering different types of seed mixes besides sunflower hearts. Nyjer and millet seeds are particularly popular among these birds because they can easily crack them open with their specialized beaks. Additionally, keep in mind that providing fresh water sources will not only benefit finches but other bird species too!


Now that we’ve talked about sparrows and finches, let’s move on to another common bird species – doves. Doves are gentle birds known for their soft cooing sounds and calm demeanor. They belong to the family Columbidae and can be found in various parts of the world.

When it comes to diet, doves are not picky eaters. They will consume a variety of food items such as seeds, fruits, and insects. However, they particularly enjoy sunflower hearts due to their high-fat content, which provides them with ample energy during colder months. These small black seeds also have a soft shell that is easy for doves to crack open with their beaks.

If you want to attract more doves into your backyard or garden, consider offering different types of seed mixes besides sunflower hearts. Millet and safflower seeds are popular among these birds too because they are easy to digest and provide essential nutrients required for healthy growth. Additionally, providing clean water sources is crucial as doves need access to fresh drinking water daily. By following these tips, you’ll soon have a thriving dove population in your outdoor space!

Blue Jays

Moving on from our discussion of common birds that eat sunflower hearts, let’s focus now on the Blue Jay. These strikingly beautiful birds are a regular sight in most backyards across North America and for good reason – they love to snack on sunflower hearts! In fact, many bird enthusiasts consider them one of the most frequent visitors to their feeders.

Blue Jays have a strong beak which allows them to crack open even the toughest shells with ease. This makes sunflower hearts an excellent source of nutrition for these birds as it provides them with essential fatty acids and protein. They also enjoy eating other seeds such as peanuts and corn but sunflower hearts remain a firm favorite.

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If you want to attract more Blue Jays to your garden, make sure you keep your feeder stocked up with plenty of fresh sunflower hearts. Not only will you get to enjoy watching these stunning birds up close, but you’ll also be providing them with valuable energy during colder months when food is scarce. Keep reading as we move onto discussing another popular seed-eating bird – finches.


Finches are a diverse family of birds that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I’m an avian nutrition expert, and I’m here to discuss the best way to feed these birds sunflower hearts. Many species of finches will enjoy sunflower hearts, but it’s important to research the specific dietary needs of the type of finch you have. With the right approach, sunflower hearts can be a great part of a balanced diet for your finch!

Types Of Finches

If you’re a bird enthusiast or simply enjoy feeding birds, then you know that finches are some of the most beautiful and interesting species to watch. One type of finch that stands out is the American Goldfinch; their bright yellow color contrasted with black wings makes them easy to spot. These small birds love sunflower hearts because they provide an excellent source of energy and nutrition.

Another type of finch that enjoys sunflower hearts is the House Finch. This bird has a red head and breast, which makes it easily recognizable in gardens or parks. The House Finch feeds on a variety of seeds, including millet, nyjer, and safflower but prefers sunflower hearts due to their high-fat content. Sunflower hearts have a higher fat percentage than whole sunflower seeds, making them ideal for providing energy during cold winter months.

The Purple Finch is another intriguing species known for its vibrant plumage – males have a raspberry-red coloration while females exhibit soft brown tones. These birds prefer larger sunflower heart chips as opposed to smaller ones since they can eat more efficiently without wasting any seed shells. Providing these larger chips will help attract purple finches to your feeding station, especially if you live near wooded areas where they typically reside.

As an avian nutrition expert, I highly recommend adding sunflower hearts to your bird feeder if you want to attract different types of finches to your backyard. They offer an excellent source of energy and nutrition for many species such as American Goldfinches, House Finches, and Purple Finches. With their versatility and nutritional value, there’s no reason not to include these tasty treats in your daily feedings!

Feeding Finches Sunflower Hearts

If you’re a bird enthusiast or simply enjoy feeding birds, then you know that finches are some of the most beautiful and interesting species to watch. And when it comes to their diet, sunflower hearts are an excellent option to consider. These small seeds are packed with essential nutrients and offer high energy levels that many types of finches love.

Feeding finches sunflower hearts can attract different varieties of these elegant birds to your backyard feeder. Many species such as American Goldfinch, House Finch, and Purple Finch prefer sunflower hearts over other seed choices because they provide the necessary fat content required for optimal health during cold winter months.

Sunflower hearts also offer versatility in terms of how you present them at your feeding station. Whether using larger chips or smaller ones, there’s no wrong way to serve up this tasty treat! So if you want to increase activity around your bird feeders while providing top-notch nutrition for your feathered friends, be sure to add sunflower hearts into their diets today!


Cardinals are a beloved bird species that can frequently be spotted in North America. Their vibrant red plumage makes them easy to identify, and they have become a favorite of many backyard birdwatchers. When it comes to their diet, sunflower hearts are one of the foods that cardinals enjoy eating.

Sunflower hearts are a nutritious food source for cardinals as they contain high levels of protein and fat, which is essential for energy production. Additionally, these seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus. This combination of nutrients helps support the overall health and well-being of cardinals.

If you want to attract cardinals to your backyard or garden, consider offering them sunflower hearts. To make feeding more convenient for these birds, use a feeder with large openings so they can easily pick out the seeds they desire. It’s also important to keep the feeder clean and free from mold or bacteria buildup as this can cause harm to the birds’ digestive system.

Moving forward into our next section about chickadees, these small but mighty birds have different dietary needs than cardinals.


As we discussed in the previous section, cardinals have a fondness for sunflower seeds. However, did you know that another bird species also loves these tasty treats? Chickadees are small and energetic birds found throughout North America. They have a black cap and bib with white cheeks, making them easily recognizable.

Chickadees are known to be avid eaters of sunflower hearts. Sunflower hearts are the dehulled kernels of the sunflower seed without shells or hulls. This makes it a convenient and nutritious option for backyard bird feeders as there is no mess left behind. The high-fat content in sunflower hearts provides an excellent source of energy for chickadees during cold winter months.

To give you more information about which birds prefer sunflower hearts over other types of food, here’s a table:

Bird Species Preference
Cardinals Sunflower Seeds
Chickadees Sunflower Hearts
Nuthatches Suet

As an avian nutrition expert, I highly recommend incorporating sunflower hearts into your backyard feeding routine if you want to attract more chickadees to your yard. It’s important to note that while sunflowers may be their preferred choice, they still require a well-balanced diet consisting of various foods such as suet, fruits, and insects.

Now that we’ve learned about chickadees’ love for sunflower hearts let’s dive into another fascinating bird species: nuthatches. These small birds are commonly seen crawling up trees headfirst while searching for food. But what do they like to eat? Let’s find out in the next section.


Nuthatches are small, colorful birds that can be found all over North America. They have a unique feeding behavior of hanging upside down while eating, which allows them to easily access hard-to-reach food sources like sunflower hearts. Nuthatches love sunflower hearts and will eat them with great enthusiasm.

Sunflower hearts are an excellent source of nutrition for nuthatches as they contain high levels of protein and essential fatty acids. In addition to providing energy, these nutrients help maintain healthy feathers and promote overall bird health. When choosing sunflower hearts for your backyard feeder, look for high-quality options without added fillers or preservatives.

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To attract nuthatches to your feeder, provide a mix of foods that mimic their natural diet such as peanuts, suet, mealworms, and black oil sunflower seeds. Also, make sure the feeder is placed in a location where the birds feel safe from predators but still have easy access to food. With patience and persistence, you can enjoy watching these acrobatic little birds visit your backyard regularly.

  • A fun fact about nuthatches: Some species use sticky sap to line their nests.
  • A tip for attracting more nuthatches: Offer fresh water nearby for drinking and bathing.
  • An interesting observation about nuthatch behavior: They often wedge nuts into bark crevices before hammering them open with their bills.

Moving on to woodpeckers…


Nuthatches, oh how they love their sunflower hearts. These little birds will happily munch away at the nutritious kernels all day long. It’s almost as if they have developed a taste for these tiny seeds above all else.

But nuthatches are not the only ones who appreciate this tasty snack. Woodpeckers too can often be found pecking away at sunflower hearts in search of sustenance. For woodpeckers, sunflower hearts provide an excellent source of protein and energy that they need to keep up with their active lifestyles.

In fact, many different species of birds enjoy eating sunflower hearts. From finches to jays, chickadees to cardinals, there is no shortage of feathered friends who would gladly make a meal out of these delicious morsels. So next time you’re looking to attract some avian visitors to your backyard, consider putting out some sunflower hearts – you might just be surprised by who stops by!

Attracting Birds With Sunflower Hearts

Sunflower hearts are a popular choice for bird feeding enthusiasts because they are both nutritious and easy to access. Many species of birds, including finches, chickadees, and nuthatches, will readily consume sunflower hearts when offered in a feeder or on a flat surface.

One reason why sunflower hearts are so appealing to birds is their high fat content. Birds need plenty of energy-rich foods like fats during the colder months when natural food sources may be scarce. Sunflower hearts contain up to 50% oil by weight, making them an excellent source of this important nutrient.

In addition to being packed with beneficial nutrients, sunflower hearts also have another advantage: they don’t require any cracking or shelling before consumption. This means that even smaller birds like goldfinches can easily eat them without expending too much effort. Overall, offering sunflower hearts is an effective way to attract a wide variety of bird species to your backyard feeders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Sunflower Hearts Be Harmful To Birds?

Sunflower hearts have become a popular option for bird feeders in recent years due to their high nutritional value and easy-to-eat nature. As an avian nutrition expert, I can confidently say that sunflower hearts are not harmful to birds when given in moderation. However, it is essential to note that too much of anything can be detrimental. Overfeeding sunflower hearts may lead to obesity and other health issues among some species of birds like finches and siskins. Therefore, it is crucial always to provide a balanced diet with different types of seeds, fruits, and nuts for optimal avian health.

How Do I Store Sunflower Hearts To Ensure Freshness?

To ensure the freshness of sunflower hearts, it is important to store them properly. First and foremost, make sure the container used for storage is airtight, as exposure to air can cause the seeds to go stale quickly. Store them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight or heat sources. Additionally, avoid storing them near any strong-smelling substances that may affect their flavor. It’s recommended to only purchase enough sunflower hearts for short-term use so they don’t sit unused for too long. By following these simple steps, you can help maintain the quality of your bird food and provide optimal nutrition for our feathered friends!

Are Sunflower Hearts A Good Source Of Food For Migratory Birds?

Sunflower hearts are a fantastic source of food for migratory birds due to their high fat and protein content. These nutrients are essential for birds during migration, as they require an increased amount of energy to travel long distances. Additionally, sunflower hearts can be stored easily and remain fresh for extended periods when kept in a cool and dry place. As an avian nutrition expert, I highly recommend adding sunflower hearts to your bird feeding routine during the migratory season to ensure that these feathered friends receive the necessary nourishment for optimal health and performance.

Are There Any Birds That Should Not Be Fed Sunflower Hearts?

It’s important to consider the dietary needs of all birds before offering them any type of food. While sunflower hearts are generally a healthy and nutritious option for many species, there are some birds that should not be fed these seeds. For example, ground-feeding birds like doves and quail may have difficulty consuming small seeds like sunflower hearts. Additionally, birds with specialized diets such as nectar feeders or insectivorous species may not benefit from this type of seed at all. As an avian nutrition expert, I recommend researching the specific dietary requirements of each bird species before selecting a type of birdseed to offer.

Can Sunflower Hearts Attract Other Types Of Animals Besides Birds?

While sunflower hearts are a highly nutritious and beloved food source for many birds, it’s worth noting that they may also attract other wildlife to your backyard feeding station. Some of these visitors could be unwelcome or even pose a safety risk to the birds you’re trying to feed. As an avian nutrition expert, I recommend taking proactive steps to minimize any unintended guests by placing feeders in areas that are less visible from ground level or using specialized feeder designs that deter larger animals like squirrels or raccoons. By doing so, you can continue to provide high-quality nutrition for your feathered friends without putting them at unnecessary risk.


In conclusion, sunflower hearts are a nutritious and tasty food source for many birds. As an avian nutrition expert, I highly recommend providing these seeds to your feathered friends. However, it is important to store them properly to ensure freshness and avoid mold.

Think of sunflower hearts as a delicious feast laid out on a table in the forest. Just like how different animals have their preferences when it comes to food, certain bird species may not be interested in dining on sunflower hearts. But for those who do indulge, they will surely appreciate this protein-packed meal that can sustain them through long migrations or harsh winters. So go ahead and sprinkle some sunflower hearts around your feeder – you might just attract a colorful flock of grateful birds!

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