When it’s so cold and bleak outside, it’s nice to see vibrant, colorful and lively activity outside your back window. We’ve gathered the favorite meals of the beautiful Michigan birds that hang around for winter. Connect with nature this season and help a winged friend enjoy dinner, too!

Believe it or not, birds have favorite foods just like us. Next time you’re at the store, grab your winged neighbors something yummy, too!

Northern Cardinal + Safflower Seeds

The bright red feathers of a northern cardinal is always a nice addition to any winter wonderland. This gorgeous bird loves safflower seeds. Safflower seeds are different from sunflower seeds, so they won’t attract any messy freeloader friends!

Black-capped Chickadee

This cute little black and white bird is often confused with a sparrow. Chickadees often travel in groups, so they’ll bring extra cheer and song to your yard. Chickadees love black oil sunflower seeds. They will often each grab one from the feeder and then go to their personal branch to enjoy it.

Blue Jay + Peanuts

Blue Jays can be known as a bossy bird, but we believe they’re just extra confident. A blue jay will eat pretty much anything you offer to them, but they LOVE peanuts. Whether they are shelled or nulled, if you set out a peanut snack, you’re bound to see a jay swoop in before the squirrels can! It’s recommended to put the peanuts away from other bird seed because as we mentioned earlier, the jay can be pretty bossy.

Finches + Nyjer Seed

In Michigan, we are most likely to see the American goldfinch. Goldfinches can be a sign of abundance and prosperity to come, so they are a welcomed visitor. These bright, beautiful birds love Nyjer seed from a tube feeder. Tube feeders often have feeding trays at multiple levels, so make sure to keep it full. 

Woodpecker + Suet

Although you definitely don’t want a woodpecker to do some work on your house, you can keep him busy with his favorite snack. Suet is like catnip for a woodpecker (blue jays will also enjoy it). Woodpecker and jays alike both eat insects in the summer, so suet is a nice energy-rich substitute for them. You can buy packaged suet cakes, often infused with seeds and fruits.

A mourning dove waits out a snow storm perched on snow-covered tree branch.

Mourning Doves + Cracked Corn

Who doesn’t appreciate waking up to the loving coo of a mourning dove? Mourning doves are often a welcomed symbol of partnership and love, as most of them usually mate for life. These guys love cracked corn (which is the most inexpensive snack!) and like to eat at lower levels. Sprinkle some cracked corn on a picnic table or the ground, so they can enjoy a snack without worrying about the trouble of balancing on a feeder.

All Birds + A Birdbath Heater

Birds get thirsty, too! If you’re going to provide a snack for your backyard birds, it’s nice to offer them a drink. Since most water is frozen in the winter, accessible water is crucial. To help, you can get an electric birdbath heater for your birdbath. Even beyond the species we mentioned above, you’ll be amazed at the variety of winged friends that might just come get a drink!

Okay, okay, call us the crazy bird ladies! But we hope this article helps you enjoy the beautiful company of Michigan’s colorful and cheery birds throughout this winter season.

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