We always have a lot of finches but this year customers have been reporting an increase in the numbers of American Goldfinches as well as an irruption of several other bird species. Canada’s natural seed crops were horrible last year and lots of birds that usually like to winter further north have ventured south to find food.
Because of this increased traffic it is very important to keep your feeders clean. These flocks of birds are going to be stressed and susceptible to disease. Feeders should be cleaned at least once a month, year round. Disassemble feeders and immerse them completely for three minutes in a mild one part vinegar to nine parts water solution. Scrub with brushes (we have these), rinse thoroughly, and let air dry. Or Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing - will clean your feeder for $5.00.
Another tip is that if the finches stop eating after the feeder is half empty; don't wait for them to finish their plate because they won't. Goldfinches are notorious for leaving a tube feeder half full. To keep your birds happy you have to empty the older seed (if it's still good) into a different container, fill the bottom of your feeder with new seed and top it off with the older seed. The birds will probably eat down to that certain level again and you'll have to repeat the process.
|Mesh feeders are my favorite!|
Unfortunately Nyjer® has a lot of shell. The finches use their bills to twist the seed and sip the oil and then drop the shell. What looks like wasted seed on the ground is probably just tiny shells. If any seed does happen to fall you may see Mourning Doves or Juncos picking out any leftovers.
I like to use straight Nyjer® (thistle) in my feeders. The squirrels don’t bother the feeders and I know the goldfinches love this seed. Don’t use any finch blends with canary seed, rape seed or flax seed. In feeder studies these seeds along with milo, oats and wheat were found to be the least attractive to birds and will be tossed to the ground.
- Good News on the upcoming bird watching season http://goo.gl/6RilF
- What to do if you have soggy seed in your bird feeder http://goo.gl/kfTpi
- Nyjer (thistle) isn't related to Canada Thistle http://bit.ly/Nt8Xxu
- Bird of the week: American Goldfinch http://bit.ly/PZum2a
- How to Attract Goldfinches http://bit.ly/A6CwjB
- How often do you clean a bird feeder? http://bit.ly/wTk0c7
- Where do you place finch feeders? http://goo.gl/avIs2