Nyjer seed is a favorite of goldfinches, Pine Siskins, Common Redpolls, and other seed-eating birds with short bills. It has also been observed being consumed by nuthatches, chickadees, doves, Downy Woodpeckers, and other tiny birds.
Why won’t my birds eat nyjer seed?
Co-owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Saratoga Springs, New York, and creator of the blog Zen Birdfeeder, Nancy Castillo, notes that Nyjer contains natural high-calorie oils that attract finches. When the seed’s oils evaporate, it loses both its nutritional value and its flavor, and birds avoid it.
Many squirrel baffles are designed to spin or tilt if a squirrel climbs on them, preventing the animal from reaching the feeder. Maintain a clean area around the bird feeder and remove any debris or spilled seed that could be attracting squirrels. This also ensures that ground-feeding birds do not consume potentially unhealthy old, contaminated, or rotting seed.
- Spinners: To prevent squirrels from climbing the wire, suspend a feeder from a thin horizontal wire strung with spinners.
- Spinners may consist of a line of empty thread spools, short lengths of pipe or hose, or empty plastic bottles strung along the wire to prevent squirrels from reaching the bird feeder.
When squirrels attempt to cross the spinners, they fall away from the feeder. Choose squirrel-proof feeders with doors or hatches that close when a squirrel’s weight is detected if you must replace feeders that squirrels have already demolished. This will restrict squirrels’ access to seed, but smaller birds will not be affected by the hatches and may continue to feast freely.
Choose metal feeders or designs with thick, durable materials that squirrels are less likely to be able to destroy. While squirrels happily consume most varieties of birdseed, they are less interested in nyjer and safflower seed due to their somewhat bitter flavor. By utilizing only these seeds, you eliminate the squirrel’s food source without diminishing bird food.
In contrast to birds, mammals, especially squirrels, are sensitive to the perceived heat of pepper. Cayenne pepper or similar spices can be added to birdseed to prevent squirrels, but they can be washed away and must be used consistently for the greatest results.
- Wear gloves when handling pepper and prevent inhaling in the dust.
- Some stores provide pre-treated seed and suet with even spicier pepper ingredients.
- Contact local wildlife officials regarding the use of humane traps to remove squirrels from the region if they are a significant issue at your backyard feeders.
Local restrictions regarding the capture and release of squirrels differ, and you must must adhere to all wildlife laws. Ensure that squirrels do not create a handy home nearby by eliminating potential shelter sites. Prevent squirrels from nesting in old sheds, beneath eaves, and in attics by taking precautions.
Wintertime: Do birds consume nyjer seed?
Nyjer seed (also known as Nyger or thistle) is a tiny, oil-rich black seed that is a good source of energy for birds who consume it. Many birdwatchers like to provide Nyjer in their winter bird feeders since many non-migratory species consume the nutritious seed.