Do Doves Eat Sunflower Seeds? What Else Do These Birds Love


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If you’re wondering whether doves eat sunflower seeds, the answer is yes!

Sunflower seeds are a favorite snack for many species of doves, including mourning doves. While these birds primarily feed on seeds from native plants, they’re also known to visit bird feeders in search of a quick and easy meal.

If you’re looking to attract doves to your backyard, setting up a bird feeder stocked with sunflower seeds can be a great way to do so.

Mourning doves in particular are frequent visitors to feeders, and will often stick around to enjoy the seeds for extended periods of time.

Just be sure to keep your feeder clean and well-stocked, as doves can be messy eaters and tend to scatter seeds around.


Do Doves Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Doves are known to be seed-eating birds, and sunflower seeds are one of the most popular types of seeds that they consume.

In this section, we will explore the relationship between doves and sunflower seeds, as well as other foods that they eat.

Doves and Sunflower Seeds

Doves, particularly the mourning dove, are known to be attracted to sunflower seeds. They can easily crack the striped sunflower seed and the black oil sunflower seed shells with their beaks, making them a convenient food source.

Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of nutrients for doves. They contain high levels of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and egg production.

Additionally, sunflower seeds are rich in antioxidants, which help protect the birds’ cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Other Seeds and Grains

In addition to sunflower seeds, doves also eat other types of seeds and grains. Some of the most common ones include corn, millet, safflower seeds, wheat, oats, barley, and rye.

These seeds and grains provide the birds with essential nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.

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Berries and Fruits

Doves are known to eat berries and fruits, particularly during the summer months when these foods are abundant.

Some of the most common fruits that doves eat include apples, cherries, grapes, and strawberries. Berries and fruits provide the birds with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium.

Insects and Other Protein Sources

While doves are primarily seed-eating birds, they also consume insects and other sources of protein.

Some of the most common insects that doves eat include earthworms and snails. Additionally, doves may eat bread, turkey, and other small animals that they come across.

Other Foods

Doves are opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever food is available to them. They may consume nectar from flowers, particularly during the spring and summer months.

Additionally, doves may eat small amounts of greens, such as lettuce and spinach.

Feeding Doves in Your Garden

If you want to attract doves to your garden, feeding them is a great way to do so.

Doves are known for their gentle and peaceful nature, and they are a joy to watch as they feed in your backyard.

Here are some tips on how to feed doves in your garden.

Choosing the Right Feeder

When choosing a feeder for doves, it is important to consider the size and design of the feeder. Doves are ground feeders, so a feeder that is close to the ground is ideal.

You can use a tray feeder or a hopper feeder that is designed for ground-feeding birds. Make sure the feeder is large enough to hold a good amount of seed, as doves can eat a lot.

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Safe Foods for Doves

Doves are seed eaters, and they love sunflower seeds. You can provide doves with shelled sunflower seeds, which are easy for them to eat. Other safe foods for doves include millet, cracked corn, and safflower seeds. Avoid feeding doves bread, as it is not a healthy food for them.

Feeding Tips

When feeding doves, it is important to keep the feeder clean and dry. Doves prefer fresh seed, so make sure to refill the feeder regularly. If you notice that the seed is getting wet, replace it with fresh seed to prevent mold growth. You can also provide doves with water, either in a bird bath or a water dish near the feeder.

Here are some nutritional data for sunflower seeds:

  • One ounce (28 grams) of sunflower seeds contains approximately:
    • Calories: 164
    • Protein: 5.5 grams
    • Fat: 14 grams
    • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
    • Fiber: 2.5 grams
    • Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)
    • Thiamin (B1): 10% of the RDI
    • Niacin (B3): 10% of the RDI
    • Vitamin B6: 11% of the RDI
    • Folate (B9): 6% of the RDI
    • Iron: 6% of the RDI
    • Magnesium: 9% of the RDI
    • Phosphorus: 9% of the RDI
    • Zinc: 6% of the RDI

Final Things to Consider

If you are planning to feed sunflower seeds to birds, there are a few final things you should consider:

  1. Choose high-quality seeds: Make sure to choose fresh, high-quality sunflower seeds that are free from mold, dust, and debris. Birds are more likely to eat seeds that are clean and fresh.
  2. Offer a variety of foods: While sunflower seeds are a good source of nutrition for birds, it’s important to offer a variety of foods to ensure they are getting a balanced diet. This can include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other types of seeds.
  3. Avoid salted or flavored seeds: Salted or flavored sunflower seeds are not good for birds and can be harmful to their health. Stick to plain, unsalted seeds.
  4. Use feeders designed for birds: Use feeders that are specifically designed for birds to prevent squirrels and other animals from stealing the food. This will also help to keep the food clean and dry.
  5. Clean the feeders regularly: Regularly clean the feeders to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, which can be harmful to birds. This will also help to keep the food fresh and appetizing for the birds.

In addition to sunflower seeds, there are a few other foods that are particularly popular with doves.

Here are a few options to consider:

  • Millet: This small, round seed is a favorite of many bird species, including doves. It’s an excellent source of protein and carbohydrates, making it a nutritious choice for your feathered friends.
  • Safflower seeds: While not as popular as sunflower seeds, safflower seeds are still a great option for feeding doves. They’re high in fat and protein, and many birds enjoy their slightly bitter taste.
  • Cracked corn: This coarse, ground corn is a popular choice for feeding doves and other ground-feeding birds. It’s high in carbohydrates and provides a good source of energy.

Remember, when feeding doves (or any other birds), it’s important to offer a varied diet to ensure that they’re getting all of the nutrients they need.

By offering a mix of seeds, grains, and other foods, you can help keep your feathered friends healthy and happy.

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