About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What is the difference between Oil Sunflower and Striped Sunflower?

I’ve been reading lately about how birds like oil sunflower. Can you explain what that is and how it’s different from other sunflower seed? ~  Saint Louis, Missouri  

That is an excellent question! Sunflower seeds are the fruit of the sunflower plant. Black Oil Sunflower and Striped Sunflower are the two different varieties used to feed birds.

Most seed eating birds are attracted to black oil sunflower seeds. The black in the name describes the all black hull. The oil in the name refers to the higher oil content per gram in this smaller sunflower seed. Cardinals, chickadees, finches, sparrows, nuthatches, and many other birds prefer black oil sunflower over any other seed because of its high fat content and thinner shell which makes it easier for birds to open.

Striped sunflower is larger and has a tougher striped shell. Jays, titmice, cardinals, grosbeaks and woodpeckers love striped sunflower and can handle the tougher, larger shells. 

Sunflower seeds can also come hulled, which means the shell has been removed. Our unique No-Mess Blend features seeds that have had their shells removed so only the meat of the seed is left. No hulls on the seeds means no hulls on the ground and the seed won’t sprout either. Hulled sunflower seeds will attract the same birds, but there is no mess left below the feeder.

Sunflower seeds are considered the number one choice to feed and attract the greatest variety of birds. At Wild Birds Unlimited we will help you choose the right seed – and the right feeder – for the birds you are trying to attract.

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