How to Start Bird Feeding in Two Steps

Bird feeding doesn’t have to be complicated. Sure, you can invest hundreds of dollars into this hobby with fancy bird feeders and foods, but you can get regular guests in a couple of steps and less than $15. Not many hobbies can make that claim! Plus, recent studies indicate that watching birds is tremendously positive for your mental wellbeing.

Following the two steps below, you’ll be able to start drawing in these birds below (assuming you live in their range).





-Northern Cardinals


-Red-Bellied Woodpeckers

-Tufted Titmouse


This approach is for people who are curious about getting started with bird feeding, or those with limited space. Perhaps you live in an apartment with a small balcony or a home with a small yard. This starting approach is for you!

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive way to get started with bird feeding and draw in more species regularly. I recommend you check out my five-step beginner process article instead.

Disclaimer: Some links found on this page might be affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I might earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

1. Buy Sunflower Seed or a Sunflower Mix

I will say this until my face turns blue: Sunflower blends are the best investment you can make in bird feeding if you want to attract the widest variety of species. It’s relatively cheap and full of healthy fats, protein, and vitamins that birds need. You can find it at any hardware, Costco, home improvement, or bird store. You can also buy it online. Wagner’s and Kaytee are my favorite brands from the internet.

Wagner’s Cardinal Blend

A bag of Wagner's Cardinal Blend bird seed.
Wagner’s Cardinal Blend is the first bag of bird seed I purchased. It worked well and I continue to use it! It’s $12 for a six pound bag

You can also buy no-mess sunflower chips! Birds love it, and you can also draw in more species like doves and goldfinches, who prefer chips versus large shelled bird feed. This approach is also helpful if you’re in an apartment space where a mess would be less than welcome. The only downside is that sunflower chips cost more.

Kaytee Sunflower Hearts and Chips Bird Seed

A bag of Kaytee Sunflower Hearts and Chips Bird Seed.
Sunflower chips have the added benefit of no mess being left behind from birds after!

Related Content: Ranking Bird Seeds from Worst to Best

2. Put Sunflower Seed on a Plate or Tray Outside

A picture of sunflower and safflower bird seed mix on a small plate.
My sunflower mix on a plate. Any plate or tray will work well! You can also get cheap options at your local Dollar Store

Find yourself an old plate or tray in your kitchen that you don’t mind putting out for the birds. Or, you can buy a cheap one from any dollar store. Put your sunflower seed on it and put it outside. You’re done! Keep in mind that it may take birds weeks to find the seed. Try putting it in a place where birds will find it while also having some shelter nearby (perhaps a fake plant or table) to make them feel secure when they visit.

Here are a handful of additional tips you can follow to increase the odds of birds visiting your yard.

  1. Provide water (especially a heated bird bath in the winter)
  2. Avoid using pesticides
  3. Plant native plants in your yard
  4. Keep your cats indoors

Related Content: 5 Time-Tested Ways to Attract Cardinals to Your Bird Feeder

It really is this simple. You can stop your bird feeding hobby here and you’ll almost certainly get birds coming back to your home regularly if you keep your plate or tray stocked regularly.

A quick rundown of common bird seeds.