Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Goldfinches at thistle feeder

Question from reader: I thoroughly enjoy your column in the SA Express/News. I have 5 nyjer tube seed feeders (with fresh seed) in my yard and not one Goldfinch! I even put a small bit of yellow ribbon on the branches as decoys. Two years ago, I had flocks, but now cannot attract one! A friend several blocks away is swamped with Goldfinches! I have plenty of birds coming to mysunflower seed feeder, but no Goldfinches. Any ideas? Thanks!

Answer: We had the same problem about three years ago. So, we took down our nyjer feeder and put out extra shelled sunflower seed in the regular feeders. We then got swamped with goldfinches. Don't know if that will work for you, but it's worth a try.

I have mixed feelings about nyjer seed. On the one hand, it does resemble thistle seed goldfinches eat on breeding grounds. On the other hand, it's not really thistle seed. I sometimes think goldfinches know that. Ha! Also, nyjer seed goes rancid very, very quickly, and if it comes from a warehouse store like Walmart, it could be rancid to start with. If you use nyjer seed, buy it from a reputable feed store or bird supply store. If you buy good nyjer seed, buy enough to replace it three to four times a week and soon after it gets wet in a rain storm. Store it in a cool, dry place.

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