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January 13, 2011

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The Zen Birdfeeder

Glen, you're right - some people define a weed as a plant that is where you don't want it.

Glen Sarvis

This is picky but I don't consider thistles "noxious" in fact a small section of my rather large wildflower garden contains several species of thistles. They are aesthetically pleasing and ecologically important.

The Zen Birdfeeder

lmmy - check this out! http://wildbirdsunlimited.typepad.com/the_zen_birdfeeder/2013/04/faq-if-squirrels-dont-like-niger-seed-why-do-they-chew-my-finch-sock.html

The Zen Birdfeeder

Hi Lori,
Bears are attracted to anything that smells like food. Even if they don't like the taste of it (I don't know if they do or not), they smell it and will pursue it!

Lori

Am up North for the summer and knew sunflower seeds were a Bad Idea because of black bears, but thought Niger Seed wouldn't be attractive to them. Had only goldfinches at the sock for past 2 weeks, but just caught a young Black bear on the deck pulling down the tube feeder, placed there a day ago (on a shepherd's hook out from the 2nd story deck)!

It's put away now, but bears are attracted to Niger Seed?

Immy

I bought the seed in a little white bag/net and watched a squirrel hang on it, chopped a bigger hole in it and ate about 1/2 the bag. I am dissapointed

The Zen Birdfeeder

Nannette, a lot of what you're finding is probably shells. In any case, do NOT scoop it up and refill the feeder with it as it contains fecal matter from the birds. Not good for the birds!!
Sylvia, rain and moisture will make the seed clump and/or mold. Try to cover the feeder to minimize rain impact, and try to keep the seed loose and dry by shaking the feeder periodically.
Frank, no, vegetable oil will NOT rejunvenate it. It would only stick to the shell and have no impact on the seed inside. Plus it would make your feeder gunky.

Frank

Would adding vegetable oil to Niger seed rejuvenate it?

Sylvia

Hi there. Today I bought a sock because I saw a Blue Bunting or Indigo .Well it started raining out will this seed go bad. Thank-you Sylvia

Nanette new

I'm finding quite a bit of waste from the finch feeder's I feed them Niger Seeds.
Is what is on the ground edible for them do they like it can I refill the feeder what what hits the ground.

The Zen Birdfeeder

That's good news, Philip!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Marcia, doves do like to forage underneath the niger feeder. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

Philip Peterson

Yes indeed. I saw a squirrel walk up to it, sniff it and then wander off.

Marcia

I had spilled a good little pile of my niger, and was surprised to see my doves seem to love it, I know there is a bit of niger in some mixes, but didnt think doves like it, maybe there is something in it offers a change and different nutrient.
I have alot of gold finches, the lesser finches and other types of finches that love it at the feeders, and clean it out so quickly I think I need to buy larger bulk of it now...

The Zen Birdfeeder

Annick, great activity on that niger seed! Thanks for reporting in!
Joyce, I would recommend investing in an easy to clean feeder. It might be a little more expensive but it will last you for years. Check out WBU's Quick Clean finch feeders as well as the anti-microbial ones http://shop.wbu.com/products/productdetail/part_number=3442/567.0?os=354
Happy feeding and thanks for working hard to maintain a clean SAFE feeder for the birds!

Joyce

I don't have a problem attracting Gold Finches I have a plastic feeder which I clean often but cannot seem to figure out how to clean the holes around where they feed. I tried long brushes & soaking but it doesn't seem to work.

Annick

I have Cardinals, Nuthatches, Dark eye Juncos, House finches, and of course Chickadees, Goldfinches and Downys eating the Niger seed this winter.
Annick

The Zen Birdfeeder

Jenifer, like you said, finches are finicky and all birds have habits like we do. They're used to the socks and just need some time to get used to the look and feel of the new feeders. Put them exactly where the socks were, fill them with fresh seed, and allow time (it could be weeks, because finches move around alot). Good luck!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Kathleen, niger seed that is 2 years old, no matter where you bought it, will be dried out and not attractive to the birds. Use niger seed up in 2-3 months after purchasing from a bird-feeding hobby shop. Buy it elsewhere, you have NO IDEA how long they've had it on their shelves!

Jenifer

Finches are finicky little birds. Mine come when I buy the "cheap" socks, already filled with seed. Environmentally this isn't my preferred way to feed, so I have tried multiple finch feeders and they reject them all. Eventually, I bring back the socks and they flock to them.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance. I enjoy reading your articles.

Kathleen

Goldfinches especially used to be regular feeders from our niger sock. Then I noticed that birds no longer ate from our niger sock unless the sunflower seed feeders were entirely empty. A few months ago I thought the sock might have mildew, so washed and bleached it. Today, when I refilled it, it seemed that the seeds had a bit of a rancid smell. I decided to hang it and see if the birds were interested at all. Having found and read your post, perhaps I won't wait too long before dumping. What is a reasonable lifespan for niger seeds? This bag was purchased about 2 years ago from a store that specializes in wild birds.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Charlie, thanks for sharing your observations. Interesting how birds can develop different preferences!

Charlie Craft

When I lived near Philadelphia, I would have goldfinches almost exclusively on the niger feeder, and house finches on the sunflower feeder. In winter the Juncos would be around the sunflower feeder. Now I've moved north near Wilkes Barre, and the house finches and goldfinches use both feeders, with both preferring the niger. The Juncos have just arrived this week, and they're also occasionally using the niger feeder.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Esther, thanks for sharing all the different birds you have at your finch feeders!
Jessica, I doubt the basil seed would harm them. Make sure the seed is fresh - that is a very common reason why finches stop coming to the feeders. Also, finches move about widely and they are also very cyclical - busy busy for a time, then nothing! Fill the feeder only halfway until they return.

Jessica Vigos

Hi there,

I live in Utah and typically have several yellow and red finches I feed. I have not seen them recently and am wondering what happened to them? I noticed one day they wear eating all the seeds from my basil plants that were starting to seed, could this have harmed them?

I will go by a new sock and see if I can spot any again I am worried about them?

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