Bargain blends of seed found in grocery and hardware stores often contain filler seed. You'll make the birds happier and save money if you buy the seeds they prefer in bulk from local feed stores. Most feeder birds prefer two types of seeds: black oil sunflower and white proso millet. Other popular seeds are striped sunflower seed and niger thistle. Here are some good choices.
Sunflower seed attracts the greatest variety of birds. It is especially attractive to birds who prefer to perch while feeding, such as chickadees, cardinals, nuthatches, siskins, titmice, finches, redpolls, crossbills, bluejays, grosbeaks, and woodpeckers. Sunflower seed is most efficiently dispensed in a tube feeder.
White proso millet appeals to ground-feeding birds, such as doves, juncos, sparrows, and towhees. Although these birds naturally feed at ground level, they will readily accept seed placed on a platform feeder that has been mounted on a post one to two feet above the ground.
Thistle lures goldfinches, house finches, purple finches, and pine siskins to the feeder.
Suet is a favorite of woodpeckers, nuthatches, wrens, chickadees, bluejays, brown creepers, eastern bluebirds, kinglets, pine siskins, titmice, and cardinals. Suet cakes should be placed in a hanging suet feeder, usually a small cage with vinyl-coated wire.
Peanuts and peanut butter are popular foods for winter birds. Whole peanuts attract bluejays, nuthatches, and woodpeckers. Peanut kernels lure chickadees, bluejays, nuthatches, and titmice. Peanut hearts are relished by juncos. Almost all of these birds will also feast on peanut butter. Add cornmeal and/or grit to make it easier for birds to swallow, and make sure that they have clean drinking water nearby.
Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, and currants) appeal to cedar waxwings, mockingbirds, and eastern bluebirds. Soak the fruit in warm water, cut it into small pieces, and spread it on a screen platform feeder.