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, November 4, 2014

Best finch food

My friend said that it’s cheaper if you buy a mixed Wild Finch Blend Bird Food instead of straight Nyjer seed.

NOOOO! Don’t but cheap blends. At the feeders, American Goldfinches like Nyjer (thistle) or Sunflower seeds. I personally like straight nyjer in my finch feeder because it draws in only the finches and squirrels don’t like nyjer seed. A nyjer/sunflower chip blend is also acceptable if I don’t have to worry about squirrels and don’t mind other birds that also like sunflower seed sharing the feeder.

I looked up one of the more popular “finch blends” on the internet and the first ingredient was white proso millet. This is the favorite of sparrows. If you have a problem with sparrows overwhelming your feeders this will make the problem even worse. Then it had thistle seed, hulled sunflower chips which is good but the next ingredients canary grass seed, flax seed, finch millet, red millet, artificial cherry flavor is just pure waste. A landmark study by Aelred D. Geis on bird food preferences published in 1980 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Study calls most of these waste seeds "Commonly used but essentially unattractive foods." These unattractive foods will either be left in the feeder or kicked to the ground for rodents to scavenge.

Goldfinches can be some of the most particular and finicky backyard birds. Their seed has to be fresh and their feeder clean. To make sure your Nyjer seed is fresh, crush the seed on white paper and see if any oil comes out. The finches use their bills to twist the seed and sip the oil and then drop the shell. On these cold days where every meal counts, if your seed has dried out your feeder will be skipped. (Wild Birds Unlimited receives a fresh load of seed each week.)

Related Articles:
- Where are my finches? http://t.co/FRqa7eo
- European Goldfinches http://bit.ly/Q2Cu37
- Goldfinch Migration http://bit.ly/MzGSPD
- Are Goldfinches here in the winter? http://bit.ly/PZu5ML
- Bird of the week: American Goldfinch http://bit.ly/PZum2a