I've been touting hemp seed for birds, now that it should be widely available when farmers harvest their first now-legal crops of that product. I have some hemp. It's been in a tube feeder on our bird-busy deck for more three weeks, pretty much ignored.
Today I replaced it with golden safflower seed, same feeder, same place. It took not more than two minutes before a chickadee arrived to try it. And came back. And brought friends. Golden safflower is proving very popular. It has high protein and fat content. It's a bit pricey, certainly more than black oil sunflower. But the birds don't seem to mind the price.
Also have tried just plain millet. Not a good investment even though it costs little. I've dumped it over the side of the deck, replacing it with thistle. Much better reaction.. Maybe the shrews will eat the millet.
We're also serving dried meal worms todday, and tiny commercially made suet pellets. Meal worms usually are readily eaten. Not much interest today. Ditto the pellets. My son Jim who lives nearby has some of the pellets. He gave them about five minutes, watching a chickadee take one and spit it out. That was enough for him. He put the pellets and some suet scraps in his microwave, when warm mashing it into a sort of meatloaf. He is going to add meal worms to a portion, then watch to see what is popular. He says the prep is messy.
Incidentally, he has suet cakes, suet chunks, and suet pounded into holes drilled in logs. He says the latter is by far more popular.
Below, birds eating golden saffllower (cardinal, Pine Siskins)
And, birds sitting on their feet to keep warm (Pine Siskin, junco, crow).