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Pecking Order: In addition to common seeds, suet, mealworms and fruits will attract a variety of birds to your backyard.

Got your big bags of candy hearts and cutesy Valentine’s Day décor on display? Good. Now it’s time spread a different kind of love by celebrating another fabulous February event: National Bird-Feeding Month.

According to Martin J. Warbler, the unofficial and completely made-up spokesbird I created for the National Bird-Feeding Society, bird-feeding is — amazingly — the second most popular hobby in the United States, right behind gardening.

More than 55 million Americans over the age of 16 feed birds around their home, according to the National Bird-Feeding Society. “They’re not just people who lug a big bag of millet around, filling up feeders—they’re niche restaurateurs whose establishments my fine feathered friends and I patronize on a daily basis,” says Mr. Warbler.

When you think about it that way, bird-feeding is pretty darn awesome. Not only are you supplementing natural food sources for birds and giving them the extra nutrition they need to survive the season, migrate, nest and raise new broods in the summer, you’re running a restaurant that caters to a very grateful clientele.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Warbler says. “You feed us, we look pretty in your yard, keep the ecology intact, and we will never write a scathing review of your hulled sunflower on Yelp.com. Unless I’m missing something, there’s no downside!”

According to the NBFS, there are nine common types of seed:

  • Black-oil sunflower
  • Cracked corn
  • Thistle
  • Red milo
  • Safflower
  • Hulled sunflower
  • White proso millet
  • Whole peanuts (split in half)

For information about the kinds of seed that birds in your area prefer, check out the NBFS Wild Bird Food Preferences for eastern and western North America.

Have a great bird seed recipe? Post it in the comments below!

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