10 Birds That Like Eating Safflower Seed (With Photos)

Safflower seed is a great bird seed to offer at your bird feeders. It tends to draw in a lot of birds. It’s also a bitter seed that’s less appealing to squirrels. They tend to leave it alone!

Safflower seed also has a thick shell, making it hard for annoying birds like House Sparrows, Starlings and Grackles to get into. So, if you’re getting animals at your bird feeders that you don’t want, safflower seed is worth a try. You can find it at any bird store, hardware store, or online.

Once you put out safflower seed in a feeder, here are birds to keep your eyes peeled for.

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1. Northern Cardinals

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The Northern Cardinal is the state bird of eight states.

Northern Cardinals love safflower seed! If you buy a Cardinal blend of seed at a store, it will usually have a combination of sunflower and safflower seed.

Be sure to have a feeder that’s sturdy and with a large enough perch to support Cardinals. They’re bigger than other songbirds like Chickadees and Finches.

Related Content: 5 Proven Ways to Attract Cardinals to a Feeder

2. Black-Capped Chickadees

A Black Capped Chickadee grabbing a sunflower seed from a railing.
Chickadees love eating nearly all kinds of bird seed, including safflower seed!

Chickadees are common visitors at bird feeding stations across the north-central portion of North America. Watch for them to snag a safflower seed to cache in a nearby tree for later. It’s fun!

Related Content: 5 Tips to Attract Chickadees to Your Bird Feeder

3. Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks

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Rose Breasted Grosbeaks are likely to visit feeders for safflower seed in the late spring during their migration when they need extra energy.

Have native berry plants and shrubs in your yard for another chance to attract these birds.

4. House Finches

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Bird feeder explorers

House Finches love eating safflower seed at my bird feeders! They also love sunflower seed.

They’re often the first visitors at new bird feeders and are common and widespread across much of the United States.

5. Purple Finches

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Pictured: A male Purple Finch.

Just like House Finches, Purple Finches will enjoy safflower seed at nearly any type of bird feeder (so long as you live in their range).

6. Tufted Titmice

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Common feeder visitors across the eastern United States, Tufted Titmice love to snatch up safflower seed. Beyond feeders, they also eat insects, snails, spiders, and berries (Perky Pet).

Tufted Titmice are often in flocks with Chickadees, Nuthatches, and Woodpeckers (Cornell).

7. White-Breasted Nuthatches

A White Breasted Nuthatch grabbing some black oil sunflower seed.
Nuthatches are one of my regular feeder visitors.

White Breasted Nuthatches love safflower seed, sunflower seed, and peanuts at bird feeders. They’ll visit nearly any bird feeder.

They’re acrobatic birds. Watch as they hang sideways or upside down as they scale your feeders!

8. Red-Bellied Woodpeckers

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In addition to safflower seed, I also recommend providing suet for Woodpeckers

Red Bellied Woodpeckers top pick is suet at bird feeders, but they’ll gladly scoop up safflower seeds from a tray or hopper feeder.

9. Mourning Doves

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Common and abundant across the U.S.

Mourning Doves will gladly eat safflower from the ground or in a tray bird feeder. They’re also partial to white millet and sunflower seed.

10. Blue Jays

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Blue Jays also love peanuts and sunflower seed

My top choice for Blue Jays is to offer peanuts. But, they can also grow to like safflower seed at a bird feeding station! Just be sure to have a large hopper or tray feeder if you want Blue Jays. They’re bigger birds compared to finches and Titmice.

Related Content: How to Attract Mourning Doves to Your Yard


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