Birdseed Guide: Right Seed, Right Breed.


Bird feeders have long been a mainstay in many gardens. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and can certainly add some decoration to gardens, parks, and yards. However, the benefit of having a bird feeder on your property extends far beyond the ornate qualities it adds to your garden. Keeping a properly stocked bird feeder in your yard allows you to experience the wonders of nature, and with a steady supply of birdseed in your feeders, you can have birds in your backyard year-round. Bird feeders also have a very positive impact on the local bird population. A garden feeder supplements the natural food sources in the area, ensuring that there is enough food to support a robust bird population. In cold, barren months, a bird feeder may be the only source of food for nonmigratory birds to eat.

If you plan on feeding wild birds, you have to remain mindful of the make-up of your birdseed. There is no one, definitive, best bird seed mix. There are a variety of bird feed types, each offering different advantages and attracting different bird species. Below we outline the variety of birds that are native to Bozeman as well as the different types of birdseed, their benefits, and what birds prefer to visit feeders carrying them.

Birds Native to Bozeman, MT

The state of Montana offers a unique combination of climate and foliage that create habitats for 433 species of birds. Bozeman itself is a migratory hotspot that provides some of the best bird watching and is home to a massive variety of wild bird species. Because of this, many of Bozeman’s parks have become popular birdwatching destinations for avid birders. Throughout the year, a keen eye can pick out several species of finches, buntings, swallows, hummingbirds, sparrows, songbirds, warblers, ducks, and birds of prey. There are too many species of birds for this to be a definitive list; however, here are some of the birds you can expect to see around town.

  • American Goldfinch — This beautiful bird has a distinct gold-yellow plumage and is widespread throughout the United States. It is a year-round resident in Bozeman and feeds mostly on seeds and some insects.
  • Black-Billed Magpie — Once thought to be a pest, farmers in the 20th century tried to exterminate this flashy bird. Despite being targeted, the natural population thrives and is commonly found spread across the mountain west region. Its diet consists mainly of insects, but it will eat berries, seeds, and nuts, especially in the winter when food is scarce.
  • Red-winged Blackbird — With its glossy black plumage and vibrant red and yellow shoulder patches, the Red-winged Blackbird is a common sight in Bozeman, Montana. These birds, known for their melodic “konk-la-ree” song, thrive in wetlands and meadows, displaying monogamous behavior during the breeding season and showcasing a diet that includes insects, seeds, and small invertebrates.
  • Brown Creeper — The Brown Creeper might be a tough bird to spot due to its expert camouflage. This bird looks like a piece of bark come to life. They are common to Bozeman and live here all year round, so if you keep an eye out, you may get lucky and spot one. Although this bird mostly feeds on insects, it will eat some seeds and feed on suet or peanut-butter mixtures.

Selecting the Right BirdSeed

With as many as 433 types of bird species in Montana alone, it is no surprise that there are a variety of birdseed mixes and bird food types. Specific kinds of birdseed will attract birds of particular species. Below is a list of Ace bird seed mixes, their compositions, and descriptions of the types of birds they attract.

Big Sky Bird Seed Bozeman Montana

Big Sky Birdseed Blend: We designed this blend to attract most birds that live in the valley or other open areas. It contains a mix of striped and black oil sunflower seeds, sunflower chips, peanuts, tree nuts, raisins, and vitamins.

Mountain Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

Mountain Mix: If you live in or next to a forested area or in the mountains, this is the blend for your local birds. This blend contains striped and black oil sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, peanuts, and white proso millet.

chickadee chow seeds Bozeman Montana

Chickadee Chow: — We recommended this blend for wintertime bird feeding. Our highest energy blend is made up of black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans, and filberts.It attracts many birds, especially finches, chickadees, and sparrows.

Patio Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

Patio Mix — This mix contains no shells for waste-free feeding. It is a high-energy blend that provides sufficient energy year-round. It is made up of peanuts, sunflower chips, walnuts, almonds, and pecans. Finches, chickadees, and sparrows frequently visit feeders using this mix.

Finch Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

Finch Mix — This mix is made up of fine sunflower chips and nyjer seeds and is considered a small birdseed mix. It caters to birds like finches, siskins, redpolls, flickers, juncos, crossbills, chickadees, and doves.

Nyjer Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

Nyjer seed — Nyjer is a small black thistle seed enjoyed by many smaller birds. A specialty finch feeder or mesh ‘sock’ feeder is required to dispense this type of seed. This type of feed is perfect for finches, siskins, redpolls, doves, and crossbills.

Fine Sunflower Chips Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

Fine Sunflower Chips — These are de-shelled sunflower hearts, cut into small chips, and are great for feeding smaller birds. Use fine sunflower chips to feed finches, siskins, flickers, juncos, and chickadees.

Medium Sunflower Chips Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

Medium Sunflower Chips — These are also de-shelled sunflower hearts, but for larger birds. The medium chips don’t blow away in the wind as easily as Nyjer or fine chips due to their larger size. Medium sunflower chips are great for finches, siskins, flickers, juncos, chickadees, and crossbills.

Black Oil Sunflower Chips Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

Black Oil Sunflower Seed — Probably the single most desirable seed because it has a high oil content heart that contains lots of energy and a thin black shell, making it easy to crack open for most birds. Most birds enjoy this seed, especially chickadees, sparrows, finches, nuthatches, grosbeaks, redpolls, and crossbills.

Striped Sunflower Chips Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

Striped Sunflower Seed — Striped sunflower seed has a lower oil content heart and a thick gray striped shell, making it a much less desirable seed to all but a few types of birds. Jays, nutcrackers, nuthatches, and grosbeaks enjoy this seed.

White Millet Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

White Millet — This is a widely enjoyed type of seed that can be served both in a bird feeder and scattered on the ground. It is made up of white proso millet and enjoyed by finches, siskins, juncos, sparrows, buntings, doves, and game birds.

Safflower Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

Safflower Seed — Safflower has a hard shell and bitter taste. Squirrels and pest birds such as magpies, grackles, and starlings dislike this bitter taste so they won’t visit the feeder. Use this seed to attract finches, sparrows, chickadees, grosbeaks, and doves.

Peanut Pick-Outs Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

Peanut Pick-Outs — Peanuts are a great high-energy food because of their high oil content. Peanut pick-outs have no shells so they don’t make a mess under your feeder. Peanuts attract finches, chickadees, woodpeckers, nuthatches, and grosbeaks.

In-Shell Peanuts Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

In-Shell Peanuts — Larger birds like blue and steller’s jays and Clark’s nutcrackers are fond of in-shell peanuts. Be advised that squirrels also love in-shell peanuts so a caged or squirrel-proof feeder may be needed to keep any unwanted guests away.

Suet Seed Mix Bozeman Montana

Suet — Technically not a seed, suet is the hard fat around the kidneys and loins in beef and mutton. Still, suet is a common birdfeed and is great for feeding birds like woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, jays, and starlings.


Where Do I Get Started?

Bozeman, Montana, offers a wide variety of wild bird species for everyone to enjoy, from the avid bird watcher to the local homeowner who likes to listen to their peaceful songs. Each species of wild bird has unique tastes and require specific diets to keep them healthy. Because of this, Owenhouse Ace carries a variety of wild bird food and wild bird seed choices. From regional mixes, species-specific blends, suet,  and a variety of base seed ingredients like shelled birdseed or nyjer seed, we have the right ingredients to keep your feeders full and the birds of Bozeman happy. Stop by either of our Owenhouse Ace locations or give us a call. We look forward to helping you set up your very own wild bird oasis.

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