What Birds Eat Cracked Corn? (And How to Feed It to Them)

Cracked corn is a versatile and nutritious food option that has become increasingly popular among bird enthusiasts looking to attract a variety of feathered friends to their yards. This affordable, high-protein option appeals to numerous types of birds, making it an exceptional choice for anyone hoping to create a diverse and lively backyard birding experience.

Ground-feeding birds, such as wild turkeys and mourning doves, are particularly drawn to cracked corn, but other species, like blue jays and cardinals, have also been known to enjoy this food source. By strategically selecting the appropriate type of feeder and combining cracked corn with other foods, you can entice a vibrant mix of avian visitors to your outdoor space, all while helping to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

Key Takeaways

  • Cracked corn is a popular and nutritious food source for a variety of bird species
  • Ground-feeding birds are particularly attracted to cracked corn, but it can also appeal to other species
  • Using appropriate feeders and combining cracked corn with other foods can help attract diverse bird populations.

Types of Birds That Eat Cracked Corn

Cracked corn is a popular food choice among numerous bird species. Ground-feeding birds, in particular, enjoy this food source, as it is easily scattered on the ground or under bushes. Below are some of the most common birds known to eat cracked corn.

  • Northern Cardinals are a striking sight, with their bright red plumage and black markings around their faces. Both male and female Northern Cardinals enjoy feeding on cracked corn. These birds are commonly found throughout the Eastern United States, from Florida to Southern Canada.
  • Blue Jays are another species that consume cracked corn. Known for their vibrant blue feathers and noisy calls, these birds are native to Eastern North America. Their diet consists of a mixture of insects, seeds, nuts, and fruit. Cracked corn is particularly well-suited to the dietary needs of Blue Jays.
  • Friendly ground feeders, such as juncos and towhees, are also attracted to cracked corn. These native sparrows can often be seen performing a chicken-scratch dance as they forage for the corn at ground level. Their cousins, the House Sparrows, find cracked corn to be a valuable food source as well.
  • Another species that consumes cracked corn is the Mourning Dove. These gentle birds are prevalent throughout the United States and feed primarily on seeds and grains from the ground. They appreciate the easy accessibility and digestibility of cracked corn, making it a perfect addition to their diet.
  • Similarly, turkeys, quails, and pheasants, and Northern bobwhites flock to yards where cracked corn is available. Being ground feeders, these birds thrive on corn as a main part of their diet, making it an ideal attractant for birdwatchers looking to draw a variety of species into their yards.
  • In addition to these mentioned species, there is a whole range of birds that find cracked corn appealing. These include crows, blackbirds, starlings, and red-winged blackbirds as well as woodpeckers, ducks, pigeons, and even grosbeaks in certain regions. By offering cracked corn, bird enthusiasts can attract a diverse group of birds, creating a lively and active birdwatching experience.

Read Next: Which Birds Eat Millet?

Benefits of Cracked Corn for Birds

Cracked corn is an excellent addition to your backyard bird-feeding routine, providing numerous benefits for various bird species. Rich in protein, fat, and fiber, it serves as a source of energy for birds, helping them maintain their daily activities and supporting their overall health.

It consists of corn kernels that have been broken into smaller pieces, making it easier for birds to consume. This nutritious food source can be found in various birdseed mixes or offered as a standalone option in bird feeders.

Not only is cracked corn a valuable energy source, but it also plays a critical role during the breeding season. Birds require additional nutrition to successfully breed, and cracked corn delivers the needed nutrients to support healthy reproduction.

The versatility of cracked corn cannot be ignored as it offers various options for serving. You can sprinkle it directly on the ground or along decks and patios, which is particularly appealing to ground-feeding species. Placing it under low bushes or shrubs also encourages secretive species like quail and towhees to venture out and enjoy this nutritious treat.

Different Types of Bird Feeders

When it comes to offering cracked corn to birds, selecting the right type of bird feeder plays a vital role in attracting various bird species to your backyard. There are several types of bird feeders designed to cater to the habits and preferences of different bird species. Here, we’ll discuss some popular bird feeders suitable for serving cracked corn.

Platform Feeders

These are simple, flat feeders with a raised edge to keep the food from falling out. They are ideal for feeding cracked corn since their open design makes the food easily accessible to birds like sparrows, blackbirds, and pigeons who love to feast on corn. They can be hung from trees or mounted on a pole for easy access.

Tray Feeders

Similar to platform feeders, tray feeders have a flat, open space for birds to eat from, making them perfect for cracked corn. They generally have a roof to protect the food from rain and snow, ensuring the corn stays dry and fresh. Tray feeders can also be hung or pole-mounted, attracting a variety of birds like crows and quail.

Hopper Feeders

Featuring a large container to hold cracked corn, hopper feeders automatically dispense food as it is consumed, maintaining a consistent supply for birds like northern cardinals and blue jays. These feeders can be mounted on a pole or hung from a tree branch, keeping them off the ground and away from squirrels and other potential pests.

Tube Feeders

While not specifically designed for cracked corn, tube feeders can also provide a suitable feeding option. These feeders have multiple feeding ports that provide easy access for smaller birds such as finches and chickadees. Some models can be modified to hold cracked corn, but be sure to select one that has larger openings to accommodate the corn’s size.

Ground Feeders

As the name suggests, ground feeders are placed directly on the ground, making them easily accessible for birds like doves and quail that prefer feeding at a ground level. These feeders come in various shapes and sizes, and many have a roof to protect the food from the elements.

Choosing the right bird feeder for cracked corn can greatly enhance your bird-watching experience and encourage a diverse array of bird species to visit your backyard. By providing them with their preferred feeder styles, you’ll help create a welcoming and abundant food source for these fascinating creatures.

Attracting Birds with Cracked Corn

When offering cracked corn to birds, it’s important to provide it in small quantities to maintain freshness and prevent waste. Many ground-feeding birds like quail and pheasants prefer to forage at ground level, which means spreading the corn directly on the ground can be effective. However, if you have concerns about attracting other critters to your garden, tray or platform feeders can be an excellent alternative, keeping the food off the ground and more easily accessible for the birds.

One thing to remember is that while cracked corn is a fantastic food source for larger birds like turkeys, doves, and quails, it can be challenging for smaller birds to eat. If you’re looking to cater to a wider variety of avian visitors, try offering a diverse range of food items in your backyard feeders. You can mix cracked corn with sunflower seeds, millet, or other small seeds to create a blend that suits birds of different sizes and feeding preferences.

At the end of the day, cracked corn is a versatile and cost-effective food choice for attracting numerous bird species to your garden. As long as you serve it in appropriate quantities and locations, you’ll soon enjoy a bustling and lively backyard filled with feathered friends.

Combining Cracked Corn with Other Foods

To increase the variety in their diet and attract even more birds to your yard, consider mixing cracked corn with other foods. Combining cracked corn with other seeds, nuts, and grains can create an enticing and nourishing buffet for birds in your area.

  • A popular option is to add birdseed mixes or nuts to the cracked corn. Birdseed mixes often contain a variety of seeds, such as sunflower seeds, millet, and safflower, which can entice different types of birds. Nuts, like peanuts or tree nuts, provide essential fats and proteins, making them an excellent addition for birds that require higher energy sources. When including nuts, make sure they are unsalted and broken into smaller pieces for easy consumption.
  • Fruit is another perfect supplement to cracked corn, offering appealing and nutritious treats to birds. Chopped apples, grapes, raisins, and even oranges can bring a colorful and flavorful boost to your bird feed. Berries are especially attractive to birds, providing essential antioxidants and vitamins. Experiment with various fruits to discover the preferences of the birds in your area.
  • Ground-feeding birds, such as doves, juncos, and sparrows, often enjoy foraging for food, so combining cracked corn with other ingredients can create an inviting buffet for them. Spreading the mixture at ground level or in low bird feeders can encourage these birds to explore the different foods available, making your yard an attractive dining destination for various species.

Remember to keep your feeders stocked and observe which combinations attract the most diverse range of birds to your space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which birds are attracted to cracked corn?

Cracked corn is a versatile food that attracts various bird species such as Northern Cardinals, California Quails, House Sparrows, Blackbirds, Grackles, and Rock Pigeons among others (“Birds That Eat Cracked Corn”). Its popularity among birds makes it a great addition to backyard bird feeders.

Is cracked corn a good food source for wild birds?

Yes, cracked corn is a good food source for wild birds as it provides them with essential nutrients and calories (“Attract Wild Birds With Cracked Corn”). Birds like Quails, Northern Cardinals, ducks, and wild turkeys especially enjoy its taste and nutritional content.

Are there any birds that avoid cracked corn?

While cracked corn appeals to many bird species, some might be less interested in it due to its hard texture and size. Birds with smaller beaks, like finches and chickadees, may have a harder time consuming cracked corn (“Feeding Birds Cracked Corn”). These birds prefer softer or smaller food items like seeds or insects.

Can cracked corn be mixed with other bird food?

Absolutely! Cracked corn can be easily mixed with other bird foods such as seeds, millet, and sunflower kernels to create a diverse buffet that appeals to a broader range of bird species (“The Right Way to Serve Cracked Corn for Birds”). Offering a variety in your bird feeder can attract different types of birds and make it an appealing spot for them to visit.

What nutritional value does cracked corn provide for birds?

Cracked corn is a source of carbohydrates, calories, and protein for birds. It is a valuable addition to their diet, supplying energy and sustenance necessary for their daily activities and development (“40 Types Of Birds That Eat Cracked Corn”). However, it is essential to offer other food sources along with cracked corn to ensure the birds receive a well-rounded diet.

Does cracked corn attract unwanted wildlife?

Cracked corn can unfortunately also attract unwanted wildlife, particularly if it is not stored and managed properly. Animals like squirrels, raccoons, and rodents might be drawn to the smell and easy access of cracked corn at feeders (“Attract Wild Birds With Cracked Corn”). To avoid unwanted visitors, it is crucial to use specialized feeders that are less accessible to these animals, and avoid overfeeding, which can result in spillage and leftovers that attract pests.

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