Filling your feeder with a premium bird food mix is one of the best ways to attract the widest diversity of bird species. If you’d like to attract specific species of birds, straight seeds are a great way to get their attention.

Here’s a quick guide to straight seeds:

Nyjer: A tube feeder filled with nyjer seed is simply one of the best ways to invite finches, especially those bright yellow American Goldfinches. (Birds with larger beaks, such as the Northern Cardinal and the European Starling, tend to shy away.) The seeds are also heat treated, so they're very unlikely to sprout when they fall to the ground.

Having problems with squirrels gobbling up all your birdseed? Golden safflower is a sure way to discourage these enterprising bushy-tailed mammals (as well as “bully” birds, such as starlings and grackles). These have thinner hulls than the traditional white seeds, and a higher fat content, making these a favorite for small birds like chickadees and nuthatches.

Black Oil Sunflower Seeds: Ideal for attracting a wide diversity of birds. Unlike striped sunflower seeds, these have thinner hulls and are much easier for small beaks to crack open.

Sunflower Kernels: These present the best of both worlds for those who love the birds but also want to keep their decks and yards tidy and free of shell waste! Keep in mind, without the protective shells, sunflower kernels spoil much more quickly in hot weather and moisture. Set out in small portions and store the rest in a container with a tight, fitted lid.

Peanut Pieces: Birds go nuts for peanuts! As with the sunflower kernels, set out only enough for daily rations. Also, because these release oils, it’s even more important to wash your feeders regularly.

Even better, if you purchase these from a high-quality seed producer such as Lyric Wild Bird Food, you can feel confident about feeding your feathered friends healthy food that is safe, additive free and specially formulated for birds.

Chickadees, cardinals and woodpeckers alike enjoy golden safflower seed however, squirrels don’t like the taste! iStock/Thinkstock