There's a new bird seed coming onto the bird feeding market called golden safflower. Note the color in the photo above that give the seed it's name, safflower is normally pure white. This new version claims to be higher in oil content, higher in protein and higher in fat, making it more desirable to feeder birds. It's also supposed to be non germinating and I'm not sure if that's because it's out hull-less or if it's been roasted.
The big advantage to safflower in the past has been that cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches (above), mourning doves, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and house finches really enjoy the seed but grackles and house sparrows do not care for the taste and usually leave it alone. That's not to say that house sparrows won't eat when desperate. Starlings are physically unable to eat it, since they do not have bills that are strong enough to open seeds in a hard shell.
But what about golden safflower--will it now be tastier to house sparrows and grackles? We'll have to wait and see. I first noticed the safflower at Carpenter Nature Center, on of their 20 some odd bird feeders was filled with it and a flock of chickadees preferred it over any other. And went on a search for it. I've found two bird stores in the Twin Cities that carry it (I didn't call all of them) and I'm sure other birds stores will follow suit soon (at the least the good ones will).
I've been testing it out at Mr. Neil's feeding stations and the birds took to it right away--especially the nuthatches and the chickadees. the birds still prefer nuts and sunflower but there is certainly more activity at the golden safflower than at the regular safflower. I tried it at home and the house sparrows just don't know what to do about it. The cardinals and flying squirrels are happy to eat it though. If you're having a house sparrow, grackle, or cardinal problem call your local wild bird specialty store and see if they have it in, if they don't recommend that they consider carrying it.
Remember that if you are going to try a new seed that sometimes the birds don't take to it right away. It's like going to Wendy's for a #1 hamburger special. One day you get there and Wendy's is now a Taco Bell and the #1 special is now three tacos. It's not that you don't like tacos, but when you go there, you were expecting a hamburger. In time, you get over it and start having the taco special.