Bird Seed Vs. Suet Vs. Peanuts

You can use different types of food to fill your bird feeders. Birdseed, bird suet, and peanuts are some common options, and all of them have excellent nutritional values.

However, choosing the right type of food is essential, depending upon the season and the bird species you want to attract.

Let’s discuss everything you need to know about bird seed vs. suet vs. peanuts and why they make great options for your bird feeding stations.

Bird Seed Or Peanuts

bird seed vs. suet vs. peanuts

Both bird seeds and peanuts are great options to feed birds. However, you’ll need to choose the right option, depending upon the bird species you want to attract.

Bird Seeds Options You Can Use

Many bird seed types are available in the market with different nutritional values. You can use the following high-value seeds to attract various bird species you want to see in your backyard.

Sunflower Seeds

Most small bird species love all sunflower seed types, including black oil sunflower seed and hulled sunflower chips and kernels. These seeds attract the following bird species:

  • Goldfinches
  • Doves
  • Woodpeckers
  • Nuthatches
  • Sparrows
  • Cardinals
  • Grosbeaks
  • Jays
  • Titmice
  • House finches
  • Chickadees


Nyjer is one of the most commonly used birdseed types, and it attracts the following bird species.

  • Quail
  • Pine siskins
  • Redpolls
  • Purple finches
  • Goldfinches


Millet is small seeds, and they come in white color. These seeds are usually mixed with other seeds, but you can also buy them separately. These seeds attract the following bird species:

  • Turkeys
  • Buntings
  • Quail
  • Juncos
  • Sparrows
  • Doves

Safflower Seed


Using safflower seeds is the best option if you have a lot of squirrels and other small rodents in your area. These seeds come with a bitter and sharp taste that rodents like to avoid but the following bird species don’t:

  • House finches
  • Woodpeckers
  • Jays
  • Nuthatches
  • Cardinals


Milo is known as a low-value seed, but it attracts many bird species, including ground-feeding birds.

  • Grouse
  • Wild turkey
  • Quail
  • Ducks
  • Doves


Peanuts are a great food source for birds, and you can use them throughout the year. However, it’s important to make sure that you crush peanuts into small pieces, especially during summer and spring.

Birds hatch their eggs during these seasons, and they have little hatchlings in their nests. Large peanuts can get stuck in the tiny throats of hatchlings and can be fatal in the worst cases.

It’s also important to use unsalted and unsweetened peanuts; salt and sweeteners can be toxic to small birds. Using peanuts is a great option to attract the following bird species.

  • Wrens
  • Great tits
  • Blue tits
  • Woodpeckers
  • Jays
  • Crows
  • Doves
  • Titmice
  • Cardinals
  • Nuthatches
  • Chickadees

Bird Seed Vs. Suet

Woodpecker Feeder Bird Hairy Woodpecker Suet
Woodpecker Feeder Bird Hairy Woodpecker Suet

There are some species of birds that prefer suet over bird seeds, and the opposite is also true. Suet is a great option for the winter season as it contains a lot of fat and proteins.

Technically, it is a hard fat obtained from mutton and beef. It’s used to make suet cakes for birds that contain many other ingredients such as peanut butter, crumbs, oats, etc.

It is not ideal to feed birds in summer because it can quickly go rancid. But you can use [summer bird suet recipe: Link] for hot days.

Suet can also contain different types of bird seeds, and its nutritional value varies depending on the ingredients used. You can use it if you want to attract the following bird species:

  • Thrasher
  • Goldfinch
  • Warblers
  • Cardinals
  • Kinglets
  • Creepers
  • Wrens
  • Starlings
  • Jays
  • flickers
  • Chickadees
  • Nuthatches
  • Woodpeckers

Benefits of Using Suet Over Bird Seeds

  • Easy to use
  • Creates less mess and waste
  • Requires low maintenance

Benefits of Using Bird Seeds Over Suet

  • No time needed for preparation
  • Last longer than suet
  • Attract more bird species


What Birds Eat Suet?

Many birds eat suet.
If you want to attract wrens, nuthatches, flickers, chickadees, goldfinch, jay, thrasher, kinglets, creeper, and warbler, you can use it.

What Birds Eat Peanuts?

Many birds eat peanuts.
You can use peanuts to attract wrens, great tits, woodpeckers, blue tits, jays, doves, nuthatches, chickadees, and cardinals.

Is Suet Better Than Bird Seed?

In some cases, suet is better than bird seeds.

Some bird species such as wrens, nuthatches, flickers, and chickadees prefer bird suet over birdseed. So, if you want to attract these birds, suet will serve you better. It also requires low maintenance and decreases the amount of food wastage.

On the other hand, if you want to attract bird species such as sparrows, cardinals, grosbeaks, jays, and titmice, using bird seeds like sunflower seeds is a better option.

Why Won’t the Birds Eat the Suet?

There could be a number of reasons why birds avoid eating suet.

Maybe you have placed bird suet in a spot that’s not visible for birds, or that’s too busy with predators or human activity. It’s also possible that your area doesn’t host suet-eating birds. 

You’ll also need to make sure that your suet is fresh as it can go rancid pretty quickly.

Can I Throw Bird Seed on the Ground?

Yes, you can throw bird seeds on the ground.

Birds can eat seeds from the ground, and it’ll also help ground-feeding birds a great deal. However, it can attract other animals such as rats, mice, squirrels, and pests and can also become messy. That’s why using a bird feeder is a better approach.

Is It Safe to Feed Birds Peanuts?

Yes, it’s completely safe to feed birds peanuts.

Peanuts are not harmful to birds. In fact, many birds love eating these little nuts. Make sure that you don’t use salted or sweetened peanuts as they contain toxins in small quantities and are harmful to birds.

Why are Birds Not Eating Peanuts?

Multiple reasons can cause birds not to eat peanuts.

Many birds prefer bird seeds over peanuts. They only eat them if other food sources are not available. That’s because most small birds need to put a lot of effort into breaking peanuts into small pieces. 

You can also crush peanuts into small pieces to make it easy for birds to eat them.  

When Should You Not Feed Birds Nuts?

You should not feed birds nuts during summer and spring.

Nuts are usually used for birds during winter because they offer a great nutritional value. However, during the summer and spring seasons, birds can feed nuts to their hatchlings that can be harmful. Large nuts can get stuck in their little throats.

If you must use nuts to fill your bird feeder, consider crushing them into small pieces so that the nestlings can swallow them easily.

What Should You Not Feed Wild Birds?

There are some foods that you should not feed wild birds.

You should not feed them with the following foods:
Apple seeds
Fruit pits

Can Birds Eat Dry Roasted Peanuts?

Yes, birds can eat dry roasted peanuts.
In fact, you should prefer roasted peanuts over raw ones for all types of birds. There are some concerns regarding raw peanuts, some people believe that they can be harmful to certain bird species.
All you need to do is make sure that you use unsalted and unsweetened roasted peanuts to fill your bird feeders.

There’s nothing wrong with going a little extra for your feathered friends. Here’s a quick and easy bird suet recipe with bacon grease that you can whip for them. Or you can also try this bird suet recipe perfect for the summer.