February 9, 2012
Millet may not be the first type of seed that comes to mind when thinking of wild bird feeding. A few members of the FeederWatcher’s Forum, however, have had some fun recently by putting out sprigs of millet for their birds. Forum member downeylover writes, “I used twist ties to put out a few sprays of millet as a treat. Its a hit! The cardinals have been at it non stop but I’ve also seen juncos, chickadees, titmice and house finches enjoying some.”
Millet is a small, round seed that is often found in wild bird seed mixes. Some species may toss millet aside while searching for richer foods in the mix such as the black oil sunflower seed. But white millet is readily consumed by some species, particularly birds that feed on the ground. “Spray millet” is millet seed still on the stalk and is usually sold as an enrichment food for captive birds–check your local pet store to see if they carry it. Many native birds will readily consume millet seed including finches, sparrows, towhees, juncos, doves, and cardinals (like the ones seen above).
Note that species such as cowbirds and House Sparrows also love millet, so if you do not want to attract these species, you may want to avoid millet. Also, try to make sure that you purchase white proso millet, not red millet or golden millet because these other types of millet are not readily eaten by most species. Spray millet can also be pricey – if you find that spray millet is too expensive, you can also buy bags of white millet seed to spreed on the ground or put in tray feeders.