What Birds Eat Sunflower

Photo available at www.BrianRoyPhotography.com

Sunflowers (Helianthus) are beautiful and iconic flowers that attract various birds. Many birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts enjoy setting up bird feeders with sunflower seeds to attract and observe different bird species. Let's explore some of the birds that are attracted to sunflowers:


Chickadees are small, charming birds with distinctive black caps and throats. They are primarily insectivorous but are known to include seeds in their diet, especially during the winter when insects are scarce. Chickadees are highly attracted to sunflower seeds and are frequent visitors to sunflower seed feeders. These lively little birds are a delight to watch as they flit around and happily crack open sunflower seeds to eat.

--Learn what's interesting about Chickadees --


Cardinals are among the most striking and recognizable birds with brilliant red plumage and crested heads. Both male and female cardinals enjoy sunflower seeds, making them regular visitors to sunflower feeders. In addition to seeds, cardinals feed on various fruits and insects. These lovely birds add a splash of color to any garden, and their sweet, melodic songs are a joy to hear.


Finches are a diverse group of small to medium-sized birds, including House, Gold, and Purple Finches. These colorful birds have a special fondness for sunflower seeds. Goldfinches, in particular, are often seen feeding on sunflower heads, plucking seeds right from the flower's center. While seeds form a significant part of their diet, finches consume buds, berries, and insects, especially during the breeding season.

--Learn what's interesting about House Finches --


Nuthatches are agile birds with a unique ability to climb down trees headfirst. They have strong bills, perfect for cracking open seeds and nuts. Sunflower seeds are among their favorite treats, and they will readily visit sunflower feeders to enjoy a tasty meal. Nuthatches also have a penchant for insects and spiders, which they forage from tree bark crevices.


Woodpeckers are fascinating birds equipped with strong beaks for drilling into wood in search of insects. While insects form a major part of their diet, woodpeckers also relish sunflower seeds. Species like Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers are known to visit sunflower feeders. These resourceful birds add a dynamic touch to any garden with their distinctive drumming and calls.

Blue Jays

Blue Jays are magnificent birds with vibrant blue plumage and white markings. They are omnivorous and have a varied diet, including seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects. Blue Jays are fond of sunflower seeds and readily visit feeders to pick their favorite seeds. Their noisy and assertive nature makes them a joy to watch as they interact with other birds in the area. Learn more about

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Titmice are small, energetic birds known for their distinctive "peter-peter" calls. They have a diverse diet of insects, berries, nuts, and seeds. Sunflower seeds are a preferred treat for titmice, and they will frequent feeders to gather their share of these nutritious seeds. Their playful and friendly behavior adds charm to any bird-friendly habitat.


Grosbeaks are robust, medium-sized birds with thick, conical bills ideal for cracking open seeds. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Evening Grosbeaks are attracted to sunflower seeds and will visit feeders to feast on them. While seeds are a significant part of their diet, grosbeaks consume fruits, insects, and buds.


Juncos, also known as Dark-eyed Juncos, are small, migratory birds that visit feeders during the colder months. They have a varied diet that includes seeds, insects, and invertebrates. Sunflower seeds are a popular choice for these little birds during the winter when other food sources may be limited.

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Sparrows are small, social birds that have adapted well to human environments. White-crowned Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows are among the species that enjoy sunflower seeds. While seeds are an important part of their diet, sparrows feed on grains, fruits, and insects.

--Learn what's interesting about Sparrows! --

Pine Siskins

Pine Siskins are small finches with pointed bills, well-suited for extracting seeds from pine cones and sunflowers. As their name suggests, they have a particular fondness for pine seeds. Pine Siskins are highly attracted to sunflower seeds at feeders, making them a common sight for birdwatchers.

Red-winged Blackbirds

Red-winged Blackbirds are medium-sized, glossy black birds with bright red and yellow shoulder patches. They are primarily omnivorous and have a diverse diet that includes seeds, grains, insects, and fruits. These birds can occasionally be seen foraging for sunflower seeds in bird feeders.

Indigo Buntings

Indigo Buntings are beautiful, vibrant blue birds that add color to any garden. They primarily feed on seeds, including sunflower seeds, and will happily visit feeders to enjoy their favorite treats. In addition to seeds, they may also eat insects during the breeding season.

Common Redpolls

Common Redpolls are small finches that breed in the Arctic and migrate south during the winter. They have a varied diet, including seeds, buds, and insects. Common Redpolls visit sunflower feeders, especially during the colder months.

Northern Cardinals

Northern Cardinals are well-known for their vibrant red plumage and beautiful songs. While primarily seed-eaters, they also feed on fruits and insects. Cardinals readily visit sunflower feeders, making them a popular sight in many birdwatchers' backyards.

Evening Grosbeaks

Evening Grosbeaks are large, colorful finches with distinctive beaks perfectly adapted for cracking seeds. They have a varied diet that includes seeds, buds, berries, and insects. Evening Grosbeaks are attracted to sunflower seeds and are known to visit feeders in search of this nutritious food.


Wrens are small, energetic birds with a distinct teakettle-like song. They are omnivorous and have a diverse diet that includes insects, fruits, and seeds. While insects are their primary food source, Wrens occasionally visit sunflower feeders.

Brown-headed Cowbirds

Brown-headed Cowbirds are unique in their reproductive behavior, as they lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species. They primarily feed on seeds and grains, including sunflower seeds, making them occasional visitors to bird feeders.

American Goldfinches

American Goldfinches are small, bright yellow finches that bring a cheerful presence to gardens. They are almost exclusively seed-eaters and are particularly fond of sunflower seeds. These lively birds will readily visit feeders to feast on sunflower seeds.

--Learn what's interesting about House Finches --

House Sparrows

House Sparrows are among the most common and adaptable birds worldwide. They are opportunistic feeders with a diverse diet that includes seeds, grains, fruits, and insects. While they may not be as frequent visitors to sunflower feeders as some other birds, they do occasionally enjoy sunflower seeds when available.

--Learn what's interesting about Sparrows!--

These birds are attracted to sunflowers primarily for their seeds. Sunflower seeds are a rich source of nutrients, and birds find them delicious and energy-packed, especially during colder months or migration periods when natural food sources may be scarce. These beautiful birds in your garden or backyard can bring joy and excitement to birdwatchers of all ages.

If you're interested in attracting these birds to your garden, consider setting up sunflower seed feeders or planting sunflowers in your yard. Providing a variety of sunflower types and seed sizes can accommodate different bird species, as some birds prefer larger seeds while others opt for smaller ones.

Remember to keep the feeders clean and refill them regularly, especially during winter when birds rely more on supplementary food sources. By creating a bird-friendly environment with sunflowers, you can enjoy the company of these feathered friends throughout the year.