Continuing my series on wild bird feeding:
One bird seed I can't live without is Nyjer, sometimes called "thistle" seed. It is worth its weight in gold(finches) and is priced accordingly, but I have to have it.
The tiny seeds are best served in a specially designed feeder, to avoid waste and to keep the bigger birds from stealing it. I have three different types of thistle feeders, though I rarely use all three at once. The tube feeder on the right is one I have had for many years. Even though the plastic is discolored and stained, the little ports still work fine to dispense the Nyjer, it keeps the seeds dry and protected, and it is easily taken apart for cleaning.
On top of that is a "thistle sock," a mesh bag style of feeder, which came free in a plastic jug of Kaytee brand seed. I don't use these often, and usually throw them away after they become soiled, since they are hard to disinfect.
I buy most of my birdseed from Peggie at Wild About Birds in Milford, who packages it in small plastic bags. If I run out, I will pick up one of these jugs, which I like for their storage potential. Because Nyjer seed will turn rancid quickly, especially in hot weather, I store my extra in the 'fridge. After accidentally puncturing a plastic bag and having to clean up spilled Nyjer seed, I saw the benefits of re-using the jugs.
Nyjer is a finch magnet, and will attract goldfinches, Pine Siskins, Purple Finches, and the ubiquitous House Finches. Because I have a ton of House Finches, and because I serve many other seeds that they can eat, I like this upside-down feeder for keeping them out of the Nyjer.Goldfinches can hang upside-down to eat and House Finches can't, so this feeder with the holes under the perches means I can always see goldfinches in my yard.
There is no protection around these feeding ports, so if you have a squirrel problem, they will quickly chew through the plastic, and all your Nyger will spill on to the ground, so be warned.
Here's hoping for an influx of Purple Finches and Pine Siskins this winter!