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January 13, 2011

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The Zen Birdfeeder

Lynda, Niger Seed is usually a little more expensive than black oil sunflower because Niger is imported all the way from Africa.
The best way to save money is to first, buy smart!
- Niger Seed from big box stores may be cheaper to begin with, but is more questionable in quality. Older seed will not be eaten, making the savings not worth it!
- Buy Niger Seed from a birdfeeding hobby shop like Wild Birds Unlimited where you know you'll be getting fresher seed.
- Buy in smaller quantities so it doesn't grow stale and dry while you're waiting to put it out.
- Fill feeders only part way if the birds activity has slowed.
Good luck!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Gena, glad to help! Buy your Niger Seed in smaller quantities, preferably from a birdfeeding hobby shop like Wild Birds Unlimited where the seed is sure to be fresher! If you're not near one, here's how to get it online http://shop.wbu.com/products/productdetail/part_number=200105/567.0?os=354
Jill, though I can't say for sure, I doubt that the variety of Niger Seed used to feed the birds would thrive in Massachusetts. The great majority of Niger Seed is imported from Africa so the climate in Mass may be way too cold!

Lynda Snyder

I find Nijer very expensive. Where is the most economical place to find it?

Jill

I was wondering if it is possible to purchase the plants that produce nyger seeds (Guizotia abysinica) - so that I can feed the birds, without having to purchase the seeds....
I live in Massachusetts.
Would the plants thrive there??
Thanks for your advice.
Jill

Gena

I too purchased the seed and a new feeder from Home Depot with my birthday gift card, I had established several goldfinches with a disposable feeder from Walmart. I didn't know dried seeds could be too dry. I miss my golden beauties. Thanks for the lesson!
Gena

The Zen Birdfeeder

Randy, what an interesting assortment of birds you have at your finch feeders! The hummingbird was probably just investigating; it is doubtful that it would take the seed. The hummingbirds at the jelly is interesting too; they may have also been interested in the insects jelly would attract.
Thanks for sharing your great observations and happy birdfeeding to you Randy!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Connie, if you want to reduce the sparrows, make sure the seed you're offering is straight niger seed with nothing else in it. Also, a mesh feeder vs. a feeder with perches might also slow them down.

Randy McCabe

I was very surprised to see a Hummingbird at my thistle seed this weekend. I have a feeder for the Orioles with grape jelly nearby, which the Hummingbirds like as well. My Hummingbird feeder is about 50' away. Yes, Chickadees visit as much as the Finches. We are in the Brainerd, Minnesota area.

Connie

I have recently put up my first nijer seed feeder. It's a small feeder but I have seen five house sparrows at once clinging to the feeder and eating seed. The sparrows aggressively chase away the goldfinches. A pair of song sparrows are very happy with whatever falls on the ground from the feeder.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Mandolin, the niger seed sold as birdseed is Guizotia abyssinica, which has yellow flowers when it germinates.
Though I cannot speak for ALL Wild Birds Unlimited shops, most get niger seed which is imported from overseas, and thus is heat treated. The heat treatment is to kill noxious weed seeds that may have come in with the niger seed and is not to prevent the seed from germinating.

Mandolin

I think that the Nyjer seed I purchase from WBU is contaminated with Yellow Star Thistle (Centaurea solstitialis). The nasty yellow plants have popped-up under my thistle feeders during the past two springs. I understand that seed imported from OTHER countries has to be sterilized, but if they are sourcing seed from the United States and NOT sterilizing we have a huge problem on the horizon!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Joan, thanks for the report of House Sparrows eating your Niger seed. It's so interesting to see what birds might sample.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Vivienne, the seed is heat treated to kill anything that might be coming in with the seed, but since it has a shell, there is still the possibility that some of it might germinate in the right conditions. Raking up under the feeder is not only healthier for the birds, but will also remove seeds that might germinate.

Joan Sims

I have also seen house sparrows feeding at my Niger seed
feeder. 😊I don't mind this, nor do I mind the house finches that feed at my feeder. At least starlings cannot feed at it.😊

vivienne toms

I have Niger seed, and this terminates wherever it seems to drop why is this

The Zen Birdfeeder

Interesting Lydia. Thanks for sharing.

Lydia

I just finished raising an abandoned Mourning Dove and his favourite seed were Niger Seeds. He'd pick through the mixed stuff I had just to get them!
I'm thinking of getting a bag of just them for if he decides to visit. :D

The Zen Birdfeeder

Carolynn, you can't even rely on the "Sell By" date since big box stores put that date out so far!!! It's better to buy from a small retailer whose business relies on birdseed - their birdseed will always be fresher!

Carolynn

We also bought the seed from Home Depot and bought lots since it was so cheap....little did we know to check the date on the bag until after the fact. Birds will not touch it... Valuable lesson. Carolynn in Florida

The Zen Birdfeeder

Tomm, yes I've seen our Mourning Doves eating niger under the feeders too.
Also, robins commonly stay throughout the winter, as long as there are food sources for them. They eat fruit from trees like crabapples and sumacs. They're here in upstate New York all year long!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Howard, there are a number of possibilities. One could be location. Try moving the mesh feeder a little to a place the finches seem to prefer. I find that they like their own area (versus amongst all the other feeders) and they are fine with it being quite high. I have my finch station hanging off a 2nd floor balcony rail!
Make sure the niger seed in the mesh is loose and dry. Shake it occasionally to help that happen.
Sometimes finches are slow to adapt to a new feeder of any type, including a mesh feeder. I find that sometimes my goldfinches only use the mesh when the other finch feeder (with perches) is filled. As a result, I often use the mesh feeder only when finch activity is very busy and I need an "overflow" feeder to accommodate all the birds.
Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Tomm

Mourning Doves constantly visit right under feeder and enjoy nijer seed. During last harsh winter in LeHigh Valley area of Pa. I would toss it on the patio and doves and juncos were grateful. Crazy robin(why it didnt fly south for winter?) enjoyed blueberries,raisins, and cranberries. : )

Howard

Was having a problem with Grackles bullying birds on my tube feeder filled with black oil sunflower seed and a suet feeder as well. Went to WBU store and it was suggested to get a mesh finch feeder fill with Nyger seed, switch to safflower seed in tube feeder and I purchased an upside down suet feeder. It has been a week with new arrangement. At first Grackles seemed to not like safflower seeds. No w they are on it constantly and I even see them hanging upside down on suet feeder. The finch feeder with Nyger is getting no action at all. They all wait for Grackles to leave and eat the safflower seed. Any ideas why the mesh finch feeder is not getting used?

The Zen Birdfeeder

Carolyn, thanks for sharing your experience buying Niger Seed. Hopefully you have a Wild Birds Unlimited nearby, or you can get it online at http://shop.wbu.com/products/productdetail/part_number=200105/567.0?os=354.
Thanks for visiting, and enjoy the birds!!!

Carolyn

Made the mistake of purchasing nyger seed from HOme Depot! It's been hanging for a week and NOT ONE bird has touched it! It must be very old seed, dried out and moldy,. Never again!
As an added comment, this was my first time buying nyger seed....had no idea it was so delicate.

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