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Where to Buy Birdseed

Should You Shop Locally, or Online?

By

Safflower

Specialized seeds, like safflower, might be hard to find locally.

Tony Alter

Birdseed might be easy to find at most stores, but birders who want to provide the best foods for their backyard birds should investigate different places to buy birdseed to take advantage of higher quality seeds, a greater seed variety and better prices on bulk offerings. There are many places to buy birdseed, suet, bird nuts and other foods for birds, but not all the foods that can be bought are the same.

Buying Birdseed Locally

Buying birdseed at a local store is often the easiest, most convenient choice, particularly on short notice when one type of birdseed may run out at the feeders or a new bird with different feeding habits decides to visit. Furthermore, purchasing local seed helps support local businesses, and consumers don't need to pay delivery fees or processing surcharges. On the other hand, not all local stores will offer the widest possible variety of birdseed, and quantities may be limited, particularly in fall and winter.

When looking for birdseed at local stores, check…

  • Specialty wild bird supply stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Agriculture supply or livestock feed stores
  • Pet stores
  • Co-ops
  • Home improvement stores
  • Gardening centers or nurseries
  • Local bird clubs or Audubon chapters

Different local stores may offer different seed varieties, and prices will vary depending on each store's ongoing sales, discounts and special offers.

Buying Birdseed Online

Online birdseed retailers often have more extensive selections of birdseed available, including exclusive blends and specially developed products. They may also offer higher quality seed than can be purchased at some local stores, and depending on the quantity of seed purchased, delivery fees may be waived or a loyalty club discount may be available. Backyard birders who purchase seed online, however, do have to wait for delivery, and prices for small quantities may be significantly higher than similar seeds purchased locally.

Online merchants offering a wide range of high quality birdseed include…

Each retailer's stock and supply variety is different, as are delivery charges and applicable discount offers.

Tips for Deciding Where to Buy Birdseed

Just as birds will visit feeders where the best food is offered, birders should visit the retailers where the best deals are offered so they have even more seed to feed birds. Just what constitutes a good deal for buying birdseed will vary based on your budget, the types of seed you want, the birds you are feeding and any special offers you may be able to take advantage of. When shopping for birdseed, consider…

  • Comparing the seed's price versus its content – if there are seeds your birds won't eat in a birdseed mix, a cheap price may not be that great of a deal.
     
  • Shopping around at multiple retailers and investigating different prices for different quantities of seed to stock up at the best price.
     
  • Using sales to stock up on popular seeds, since birdseed that is stored properly can last for months.
     
  • Asking about loyalty programs that provide discounts, free delivery, special orders or other benefits to make buying birdseed less of a chore.
     
  • Opting to buy less birdseed but taking steps to grow seed – such as black oil sunflower seeds – that birds will eat – homegrown seed is just as attractive to birds, but far less expensive than multiple purchases.
     
  • Recycling birdseed by using tiered feeders or ground-feeding stations beneath hanging feeders so none of the seed goes to waste.
     
  • Having several backup places to buy birdseed when your stocks run low, so you don't risk feeders staying empty for prolonged periods of time.
     
  • Supplementing purchased seed with natural food sources such as fruit trees for birds or seed-bearing flowers to produce seed that never needs to be purchased.

By knowing where to buy birdseed and how to get the best deal on any seed you purchase, you can keep both your wallet and your backyard birds well fed.

Photo – Safflower Seed © Tony Alter

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