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Do some birds eat millet at all? (1 Viewer)

New Daddy

Well-known member
As a novice birder, I made the mistaking of buying a bag of "no waste" bird seeds from a local shop earlier this year, believing it would leave no waste. Unfortunately, about 70% of its content is millet. I've since learned that my backyard birds don't appreciate millet, always cherrypicking only sunflower seeds and peanuts, leaving millet behind. Now I'm using only hulled sunflower seeds.

So my question is, are there some birds that do enjoy millet? Is it just the bird food manufacturer's gimmick to puff up the volume of their products?
Finches adore millet
I have loads of finch as pets so keep a healthy supply of millet spray around,i always put a couple of sprigs(whatever they are called) out for the wild birds,have seen some tits at them as well as the finches
Maybe try buying some millet spray from a pet shop and hang that about,but be warned it is very messy,the chaff ends up everywhere;)
Sparrows, juncos, mourning doves are all birds that prefer millet when comparing seed in the hull.

Sunflower seed is higher in protein and fat but has a thick hull that many birds (like sparrows and doves) can't negotiate. They prefer millet because the hull is thin and they can eat it easily. Once sunflowers are removed from their hull and broken into small bits, - like they are in a no-mess mix - they are now easily eaten by everyone and their increased fat & protein probably makes them get eaten first.

I spread hulled white millet on the ground for all my ground-feeding birds.

Red millet and Milo - red BB-sized seeds, are inexpensive fillers largely ignored by feeder birds. You should avoid mixes with them. But white proso millet should get eaten.

Now one last thing - even millet has a thin hull. Make sure your seed mix uses hulled millet - or check to make sure the waste on the ground is a whole seed and not just the hull.
Millet attracts buntings, doves, finches, juncos, pheasants, quail, siskins, native sparrows, towhees, a variety of thrushes, and Carolina wrens. Millet works great in tray feeders or even right on the ground, and it's a great feed to use for year-round feeding. It's also one of the most economic ways to buy bird seed. Hope this helps!
Over this side of the pond Reed Buntings in particular love white millet (other buntings, finches and sparrows will eat it too) and Tree Sparrow loves red millet - I add the latter to my main mixes as i have Tree Sparrows breeding in the garden and its their preferred seed.
I may have found my own answer.

In an experiment, I scattered leftover millet on the ground, and juncos, mourning doves, and cardinals came to have a feeding frenzy.

I think the reason the millet in my feeder was overlooked was because these birds are all ground eaters and coulnd't comfortably perch on my tube feeder.

I've been hesitant to leave anything on the bare ground in an uncontrolled manner because I thought it would be an open invitation for rats at night. Looking at the rate at which these ground feeders devour the leftover millet, I think I can comfortably empty the leftover millet from the day before on the ground in the morning, expecting them to be all consumed by the end of the day.
In the Uk its the best bait for catching Snow Bunting. Out here Laughing Dove, Red-eyed Dove, Mourning Dove Speckled Pigeon and Four-banded Sandgrouse all come to it at the end of the dry season when there's little else left in the bush. It germinates and grows well, these plants are always covered in invertebrates.
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