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Nyjer and thistle seed bird feeders are the gold standard for finches and can be the best bird feeder to start with. They are easy to set up, maintain and refill. They do not need to be refilled often because the seed is so small that it takes birds some time to eat through it all.
These feeders are filled with the tiny black seeds referred to as Nyjer (also spelled niger) or “thistle” seed. Nyjer seeds are wonderful because they attract beautiful birds like Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, House Finches and chickadees but tend to keep unappealing House Sparrows and greedy squirrels away.
Finches are active and curious, finding new feeders fast. They are also highly social and very tolerant of other birds, even different species, feeding at the same time. A Nyjer Seed bird feeder will attract these colorful birds quickly.
Nyjer feeders can be socks or tubes. Socks hold the seed in a type of fabric that allows little beaks to reach seed through the gaps in the fabric. Tubes have small feeding ports to prevent the tiny seed from spilling and to allow only the desirable birds with smaller beaks to feed from the ports. Both types of feeders allow multiple birds to feed at once, making for enjoyable viewing.
Nyjer feeders are easy to maintain. Just keep an eye on the seed at the bottom of the feeder to ensure it is fresh and dry. Change seed if it gets wet to prevent spoilage. Long cleaning brushes are available to scrub tube feeders. They only need a thorough cleaning about twice a year – once in spring and once in fall.