My goldfinches seem to kick a lot of the thistle to the ground. Should I put a tray on my feeder?
What looks like wasted seed on the ground is probably just lots of tiny shells. Unfortunately as small as nyjer "thistle" seeds are, the black part on the outside is merely the shell finches split open efficiently to extract the high fat, high protein oil within.
Fortunately this seed has been heat treat so that if one seed does escape a finch’s grasp it won’t sprout. I would recommend you rake the area occasionally or plant a ground cover under the feeders. You could also add a tray to collect the shells to dispose of regularly.
Finch feeders have very small feeding ports to control the flow of the teeny tiny Nyjer® (thistle) seed but still allow skinny-billed finches to extract a seed. There are two popular styles. One is a stabilized, polycarbonate tube that has a perches for the birds to stand on and pick a seed from a slit in a tube. The other is a mesh tube where the birds cling and pluck seeds from any open spot.
When choosing a finch feeder always look for something easy to fill and easy to clean. The Wild Birds Unlimited finch feeders in East Lansing, MI have Quick-Clean bases that makes maintenance a snap, a Lifetime Guarantee and are also made in the U.S.A. You can’t go wrong!
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