About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What birds eat Nyjer® thistle

Handsome Hairy Woodpecker photo share from Jan Darling
I've had Nyjer feeders for years, and usually see just various finches eating from them.  Once in a while, the doves like to eat nyjer seeds from the ground as well.  This week, I've seen many different types of birds eating from my nyjer feeders.  I've had Cardinals, Grackles, sparrows of all types, and this Hairy Woodpecker in the photo eating there.  I also watched a hummingbird fly back and forth from my suet feeder one day.  Strange!  Have you ever seen things like this?

Birds that prefer Nyjer are typically seed-eating species with small, pointed bills that can manipulate the tiny seeds easily. Goldfinches, redpolls, and siskins are common birds found on nyjer feeders. But if you ever get that shell off and try a tiny seed yourself, you would find it is similar to a nutty sunflower chip. This tasty seed is full of fats and protein that a lot of birds like if they are able to get past the shell.

Black-capped Chickadees, some sparrows and woodpeckers are able to manage the seeds if they can get it out of the feeder. Cardinals aren’t able to perch on my feeder and the shell is pretty tiny for them to crack but maybe they just crunch it and sip the oil. Doves and pigeons eat their seeds (shells and all) filling their crop with as much food as possible. But one of my favorite visitors to the finch feeder in the spring and fall are the Indigo Buntings!

Some people don’t like these other birds on their “goldfinch” feeders and put out upside down finch feeders where the seed port is located underneath the perch. The inverted perch caters to only the agile finches and prevents larger birds from eating the nyjer.

Hummingbirds are not seed eaters. Nectar and bugs are what they are looking for but they will check out everything! And curious baby hummingbirds that leave their mommas at the end of June, will investigate, seek, learn and store tons of knowledge in their BB sized brains for future reference.

Related articles:
Different Goldfinches in America http://goo.gl/aI9msF
A Closer look at Dandelions http://goo.gl/YfhxHY
Round fluffy white seeds floating in wind http://goo.gl/xmKiCN
Sunflowers Up-close: The Strange Journey of an American Plant http://goo.gl/eitZa1
Nyjer (thistle) isn't related to Canada Thistle http://goo.gl/ZZBcgM

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