black hulls from your nyjer feeder

September 18, 2011
posted by birdhouse chick @ 10:12 pm

this nyjer feeder has a pinecone attached for adding suetA friend of mine who’s new to birding recently received a nyjer feeder as a gift. Several times I’d asked if the finches were coming, but the answer was always no. Difficult for me to understand as our yard just forty miles away was inundated with Goldfinches.

The other day I asked again if there were any Goldfinches in the yard. This time my friend said no, none to be seen, but the seed was all over the ground. It only took a second to realize they were at the nyjer feeder if it was being emptied!

Thistle (or nyjer) is a non-germinating seed. It’s tiny grain-like shape is actually comprised of two parts: the seed itself, and the hull containing the seed. Goldfinches and others, will discard the hulls when feeding at nyjer feeders. These tiny black hulls tend to accumulate under the feeder as no other wildlife finds them suitable to the palette.  For bird’s health, and aesthetics, it’s best to scoop up the hulls periodically as they become moldy and create a messy feeding area where fungus and bacteria could be easily spread.

So when my friend said “the seed’s all over the ground”… I knew right away the Goldfinches had discovered the new feeder. Maybe they just need to hone in on the bird watching skills?

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