Avian Acres

Your Backyard Birding Headquarters - Since 1993

800.967.BIRDS (2473)

Feeding Tips

Attracting backyard birds is more than just providing food, shelter and water. Like us, our avian friends are selective and appreciate variety.


For awesome results…

     1) Serve their favorite foods
     2) In their favorite feeders
     3) At their favorite place in your yard

Knowing these preferences for each species will go a long way toward attracting an incredible number of birds.

Our goal at Avian Acres is to provide you with the freshest selection of favorite foods, top quality feeders and the expertise to match. Whether backyard birding is your hobby or a full blown passion we’re here to serve you!

This page features Bob’s advice for addressing various techniques, components, challenges and rewards to backyard feeding.

Please check back for future updates.

Separating Species

Separating the species is possibly the most effective technique for attracting the widest variety and largest number of backyard birds. When you cater to the individual species, knowing their preferences and rewarding them accordingly can give you a tremendous advantage even in a less than desirable habitat.


Let’s say you’re currently providing seed for a general bird population in your yard. You have been successful in attracting a variety of birds; however you have observed scuffles between the cardinals and house sparrows. Also, it seems the sparrows have been making a mess and have somewhat taken over the feeder. Instead of visits throughout the day, the cardinals for the most part are only showing up early and late. A number of dynamics may be occurring in this scenario but it’s obvious there’s a conflict between these two species.

To rectify the situation first consider the food you’re providing: does it have fine and/or cracked grains? Does it contain large whole grains or is it a combination of all these?


     1) Sparrows prefer fine and cracked grains such as millets and cracked corn. Cardinals on the other hand prefer large whole grains and good size pieces, such as sunflowers, safflower and peanut pieces. Remember that all species prefer their food fresh so by serving the two species their freshest favorites at different feeders and somewhat away from each other you’ll help to resolve the conflict.

     2) Cardinals prefer a tray feeder format. For sparrows choose a feeder that can cater to numerous individuals at any given time.

     3) The tray for cardinals should be placed away from anything that would disrupt their lines of sight. The sparrows’ feeder is better located in close proximity to heavier foliage or brush such as evergreens, hedges or bushes and away from the cardinals.

This is what I call “Separating the Species“. Here at Avian Acres we have employed this method for numerous species with tremendous results. I typically have multiple cardinal pairs feeding throughout the day and hanging around while the sparrows are perfectly happy over near their feeding station. As an added bonus, instead of getting my feathers ruffled by seeing sparrows interfering with cardinals while munching lunch, I’ve learned to appreciate their simple presence. This makes feeding the birds much more enjoyable!

Avian Acres’ has numerous feeder options and for best results in the above example I recommend our “Carrolton Cardinal Mix” and our “Scratch Mix” for house sparrows. Both are mixed and bagged fresh weekly with only their favorites.

Bob Thomas

Your Backyard Birding Headquarters!